Supplemental Information for National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Institutional National Research Service Awards (T32)
March 18, 2015


This policy statement of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) supplements the general guidelines of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as described in the program announcement: “Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (T32)”  This NIAAA supplemental information and policies will go into effect for all T32 applications submitted for the May 25, 2015 receipt date.



The purpose of the NIAAA Institutional training program is to help ensure that a diverse and highly trained workforce is available to assume leadership roles in alcohol-related biomedical and behavioral research consistent with the Institute’s Mission and five-year Strategic Plan

Each year the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) supports approximately 200 trainees (80 pre-doctoral and 120 post-doctoral) at about 30 Institutional Training programs with a total annual budget of nearly $8 million.  Each NIAAA Training Program provides a unique training experience focused on a significant issue in alcohol research (see In addition, institutional training programs form an important complement to Alcohol Research Centers, many of which are affiliated with a NIAAA institutional training program.  Given the five-year maximum duration of T32 awards, an average of about six programs come up for competitive renewal each year.  The single receipt date for NIAAA T32 applications is May 25 of each year.


The special NIAAA guidelines listed here do not replace, but rather augment the requirements of the NRSA Institutional Training programs as described in the NIH program announcement:

Training in Alcohol Research and Co-morbidities: Proposed training programs should focus on areas critical to alcohol use and its comorbidities, and exhibit significant potential to mitigate their injurious effects. Prospective applicants are encouraged to include in their training programs, goals that match the institution’s strengths consistent with the missions of NIAAA and/or the Collaborative Research on Addiction at NIH (CRAN,, which was formed in early 2013 as a functional merger of NIAAA, NIDA, NCI and other NIH institutes to support dynamic and innovative research on substance use, abuse and health outcome-oriented sciences. 

An accomplished alcohol research Program Director: The training Program Director is expected to have significantly contributed to alcohol research and have the potential to maintain a strong alcohol research program.  In addition, the Program Director will have research training experience and the leadership potential to create and sustain an innovative and multidisciplinary program. 

Highly Qualified Preceptors/Mentors: Preceptors must be highly qualified in their area of research as demonstrated by scientific productivity and independent support from NIH or comparable peer-reviewed funding sources. It is anticipated that a high proportion of the preceptors will be researchers that have a strong record of achievement in alcohol research and a history of external support. Successful NIAAA institutional training programs are expected to lead the field in preparing scientists for successful careers in academia, industry or public health service in the field of alcohol or addiction research. This will require creativity and innovation and where appropriate, the incorporation of expertise from outside the field of alcohol research. Recruitment of preceptors who offer unique expertise essential to alcohol research but are themselves not experienced in alcohol research is encouraged. Their selection and anticipated contributions to the field of alcohol research and unique role in the training program should be well justified in the application. Collaborations between investigators with needed expertise and alcohol researchers in the trainee's alcohol research plan and evaluation is anticipated. 

A well-developed training plan: In addition to their research and academic course work trainees should be offered a multidisciplinary orientation in alcohol research issues, techniques, theoretical concepts and future directions. The curriculum should be as wide ranging as possible consistent with the program's goals and include a visiting speaker lecture series and other appropriate mechanisms. A recruitment and retention plan to enhance diversity should be included. 

A well-developed mentoring program: Effective training programs are expected to prepare trainees to develop new questions, approaches and technologies for future alcohol research as well as non-academic careers. The training program should describe an organizational plan that assures individualized trainee guidance from both the preceptor and from the training program itself. This should include the appropriate conduct of research, data analysis, effective writing, the acquisition of the grantsmanship skills required to compete for peer-reviewed sources of funding and guidance for procuring and maintaining a successful career in academia, industry or public sector. 

A well-documented record of training success: An essential credential for a successful training program is a record of trainee publications in alcohol-related research and a history of past trainees who have gone on to productive careers in alcohol research in academia and/or related careers that include but are not limited to education, health services, public administration, public health, industry, community based treatment and recovery. Also needed is core of productive alcohol experts who will serve as the primary mentors. Proposals from applicants of newly constituted training programs will need to demonstrate potential to fulfill these goals.



The full NIH review criteria for T32 Institutional Training programs can be found in Section V of the program announcement: In addition to the NIH review criteria, trainee participation in research involving alcohol or alcohol-related comorbidities and publication by trainees in alcohol and related fields are required.

In the process of determining an overall impact/priority score, reviewers are asked to consider the likelihood for the proposed alcohol research training program to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the alcohol and related fields.  In consideration of the five core review criteria, the proposed training program MUST be judged likely to have a major scientific impact on the alcohol and related fields. For example: Are the research facilities and research environment conducive to preparing trainees for successful careers in the field of alcohol research and comorbidities?  Are there sufficient numbers of experienced preceptors/mentors with appropriate research expertise and funding available to support the number and level of trainees proposed in the application?


New instructions and application forms for T32 Institutional Training programs are available. Prepare all applications using the SF424 (R&R) application forms and in accordance with the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this FOA through Applicants are required to fully complete the Data tables for use with Institutional Research Training grant applications. Examples of these tables can be found at

For NIAAA T32 Applications Table 6 “Publications of Research Completed by Trainees (or Potential Trainees)” applicants are encouraged to add to the citation a short description which highlights the impact or relevance to alcohol research and comorbidities where the title alone is not sufficient.


The NIAAA award decisions are largely based on the results of peer-review, but also will take into account programmatic priorities and balance and are contingent upon the availability of funds.


For additional information regarding policies of the NIAAA for institutional NRSA grant applications, contact one of the following individuals:

Program Contact:
  Kathy Jung, Ph.D.
  Division of Metabolism and Health Effects
  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health, DHHS
  5635 Fishers Lane, Room 2021 MSC 9304
  Bethesda, MD 20892-9304 
  [For express mail use: Rockville, MD 20852-1705] 
  Telephone: 301-443-8744
  FAX: 301-443-8744

Peer Review Contacts:
  RV Srinivas, Ph.D.
  Chief, Extramural Project Review Branch
  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  National Institutes of Health, DHHS
  5635 Fishers Lane, Room 2085
  Bethesda, MD 20892-9304
  [For express mail use: Rockville, MD 20852-1705]
  Telephone: (301) 451-2067
  FAX: 301-402-0250

Financial or Grants Management Contacts:
  Judy Fox
  Grants Management Branch
  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  National Institutes of Health, DHHS
  5635 Fishers Lane MSC 9304 Room 3023
  Bethesda, MD 20892-9304
  [For express mail use: Rockville, MD 20852-1705]
  Telephone: 301-443-4704
  FAX:  301-443-3891