Transitional Style: Postdoc to Faculty Fellowship Program

** Note: as of 03/22/17, the program has been updated to also actively seek mentors.**

 

The Graduate School recently announced a new initiative for post-doctoral students with a stated goal “to build a strong applicant pool of early-career, urban disparity scholars who will contribute to diversity and bolster academic excellence on our campus.”  Applications will be accepted starting April 1, 2017 for a September 1, 2017 start date; questions regarding application and further information are to be directed to Dr. Ambika Mathur (ambika.mathur@wayne.edu), Associate Provost for Scientific Training, Workforce Development and Diversity, and Dean of the Graduate School.  No deadline has been attached.

 

According to the announcement, fellows will receive stipends 20 percent above National Research Service Award levels, plus benefits. They will work with faculty mentors, participate in learning communities and receive funding for two national conferences for every appointment year. Fellows who obtain external grants during their postdocs will be eligible for tenure-track appointments at WSU with competitive compensation and startup packages.  Further application details will be released by targeted email shortly.

 

To read the announcement in its entirety, please follow this link: http://i.wayne.edu/view/58b5a041821e6 

 

 

Hey Fellow[ship]: Don’t Keep Doin’ What You’re Doin’

It’s August 2; do you know where your tuition rates are?  If you’re planning to submit an F-series fellowship application for the August 8 deadline (or an F-31 on August 13/15), watch your bottom line when you are calculating your stipend; credit costs have changed, and so have the associated costs of health coverage.  To check your tuition base rates, be sure to visit the Tuition and Fees resource pages provided by WSU Records and Registration, and factor increases in your budget as averages.  Are you an MD/PhD candidate but not sure how to calculate your credits? Unsure which medical coverage to use in your calculations?  Just overwhelmed by the stipend calculations in general?  Reach out to RAS; we’ll help you figure out into which category you fall and which numbers to use!

 

Pay mind also to the changes present in the Forms-D iteration of the NIH fellowship packages. The following are five (yes, five!) new attachments:

  • Applicant’s Background and Goals for Fellowship Training (6 page limit; G.430 Guide, Section 2)
  • Letters of Support from Collaborators, Contributors, and Consultants (6 page limit; G.430 Guide, Section 10)
  • Description of Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training (2 page limit; G.430 Guide, Section 11; includes Additional Education Information section required for F30 and F31 applications which was previously included as an “Other Attachment” in FORMS-C applications)
  • Data Safety Monitoring Plan (G.430 Guide, Section 16; used with applications involving Clinical Trials)

Note that the “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” attachment has been delayed for fellowships, even though it is listed as “required” in several resources;  don’t use it  yet, as implementation is delayed until after FY2017  (NOT-OD-16-034).

 

Biosketch instructions specifically for research, career development and fellowship applicants are now available as well; pay close attention especially to “D: Additional Information: Research Support and/or Scholastic Performance.”  Instead of “Research Support,” applicants for both predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships should use this section to provide information on their scholastic performance.

 

We think that’s enough for one post, don’t you? 😉

Supplementing the supplement

Federal stipends are certainly helpful in supporting research and experience for early investigators.  Even so, there are strict limits on amounts and sometimes a PI wants to reward extra work with extra pay.  This is allowable, but the supplement cannot come from another federal source.  Consider NIH Grants Policy section 11.2.10.1 which states:

 

Kirschstein-NRSA fellows receive stipends to defray living expenses. Stipends may be supplemented by an institution from non-Federal funds provided this supplementation is without any additional obligation for the fellow. An institution can determine the amount of stipend supplementation, if any, it will provide according to its own formally established policies governing stipend support. These policies must be consistently applied to all individuals in a similar status regardless of the source of funds. Federal funds may not be used for stipend supplementation unless specifically authorized under the terms of the program from which funds are derived. Under no circumstances may PHS funds be used for supplementation.

An individual may use Federal educational loan funds or VA benefits when permitted by those programs as described in Other Income: Educational Loans or GI Bill in this chapter.

 

If your department chooses to supplement the stipend of a fellow, be sure that your source of supplementation is not another federal award.  Further, be sure there is no federal flow-through (not a subcontract with federal origins, for instance).  Feel free to drop us a line if you’re not sure!

Fellowing the Leader

Here comes August, and you know what that means: NIH F Series application deadlines (F Series is due August 8; F31 Diversity is due on August 13).  Whether you’re a bit stuck or late to the party, templates are available to help you put together your submission.  Check out our NRSA form templates and the NIH general annotated SF424 (the initial checklist will guide you on what is mandatory.  If you have any questions, we’re here to help!

Taxation with Proper Representation

Documentation of tax withholding is so in right now.  If you’re an employee of the university (or UPG), you’ve probably received your W2 by now (and if not, you can look it up in Academica under Employee Resources > Employee Self Service > Tax Forms).  If you are a research fellow (or if you have fellows in your lab), tax season is a little less clear.  Remember, fellows are not considered employees and are paid by stipend, which is not actual payroll.  In most cases, WSU does not withhold taxes for its U.S. citizen stipend recipients as there is no requirement to do so (the university DOES have withholding and reporting requirements for non-resident alien stipend recipients, however; country-specific tax treaties may apply, so know your country’s rules and take a look at the IRS requirements for international taxpayers if this applies to you).

 

Stipend monies may not be subject to withholding by the university, but that doesn’t mean they are not subject to taxation; they are: all income that doesn’t go directly to tuition, fees and benefits is taxable income.  As non-employees, stipend recipients will receive a Form 1099 instead of a W2.  If you or stipend recipients in your lab have not yet received a 1099, be sure to contact the office of Total Compensation and Wellness here at WSU.  If you have not already, check your quarterly tax reporting requirements.  Some stipend recipients may be subject to the payment of estimated taxes for the calendar year are due in four installments; April 15th, June 16th, September 15th and January 15 to avoid underpayment penalties.  If you’re unsure, check with an accountant to avoid future sanction.

Supplemental Form

Most NIH announcements at this point have required the use of the Forms-C package, with two notable exceptions: PA-12-149 “Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Admin Supp)” and PA-12-150 “Research Supplements to Promote Re-Entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers (Admin Supp)”.

 

As of last week, both of these programs do, in fact, require the Forms-C set.  For more information, see NOT-OD-14-118.  If you need clarification or guidance on the Forms C set, see our prior post, “Forms “C” and Fringe Rates and Agents, Oh My!” or contact RAS with specific questions!

NIH Wants to Make Your Student Loan Payments

In order to retain health professionals as researchers, the NIH is offering Research Loan Repayment Programs (LRP) in specific fields: clinical, pediatric, health disparities, contraception/infertility, and clinical research for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (click on the fields for their official NIH definitions).  The basic premise is simple: you do the research, NIH repays your loans.   In order to qualify, you must be researching in one of the highlighted areas and meet the basic eligibility requirements, summarized as:

 

  • Status as a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Possession of  a health professional doctoral degree* (M.D., Ph.D., Pharm.D., Psy.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., D.C., N.D., O.D., D.V.M., or equivalent; NOTE: the Contraception and Infertility Research LRP is also open to nurses, physician assistants, graduate students, and postgraduate research fellows training in the health professions)
  • Educational debt equal to or in excess of 20 percent of your institutional base salary at the time of award
  • Research supported by a domestic nonprofit foundation, university, professional association, or other nonprofit institution, or a U.S. government agency (federal, state, or local)
  • Engagement in qualified research that represents 50 percent of your level of effort and consumes an average of at least 20 hours per week during each quarterly service period during the contract (2 years for the initial contract)

 

If this sounds like you, check out the details on the NIH Extramural LRP program information page for more details.

 

 

Recipients of a Kirschstein (NRSA) fellowships and training grants can apply for and receive LRP awards but may have to defer their NRSA service payback until the completion of the LRP.