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Predoctoral Fellowship Award

Support the mentored training of predoctoral level students with clear and direct commitment to and potential for contributing to the advancement of one or more stated research priorities.

All applications must address one or more of our eight research priorities and must be tobacco-related.

Maximum duration: 3 consecutive years

Allowable direct costs include: Stipend, tuition & fees, institution allowance, and travel to TRDRP conference

  • Stipend: Up to $30,000 a year.
  • Tuition and Fees: Predoctoral fellows will be provided 60% of the level requested by the applicant institution, up to $16,000 per year. Fellows enrolled in formally combined, dual degree training will be provided 60% of the level requested by the institution, or up to $21,000 per year.
  • Institution Allowance: The applicant may request an institutional allowance to help defray the cost of fellowship expenses such as health insurance, medical liability or other special insurance, research supplies, equipment, books and travel to scientific meetings. These costs will be covered up to $4,200 per year. The amount covers supplies and travel, including project-related travel, and scientific conference travel. The institutional allowance is a fixed amount and the institution is not required to account for these expenses on an actual cost basis.
  • Travel to TRDRP Conference: All applicants should budget a separate one-time $750 expense under year 1 for "Travel - RGPO Meeting" to attend the TRDRP conference.  This $750 expense is not part of the institution allowance.

Indirect Costs: Not allowed

A Note on Stipends and Employee Benefits:

Since TRDRP fellowships are not provided as a condition of employment with either TRDRP or the sponsoring institution, institutions may not seek funds, or charge individual fellowship awards, for costs that normally would be associated with employee benefits (FICA, workman’s compensation, life insurance, union dues, and unemployment insurance).

Fellowship requirements:

  • The proposal must reflect the applicant’s own research project and is expected to clearly enhance the individual’s potential to develop into a productive, independent research scientist.
  • Awardees are required to commit at least 75 percent of their effort each year to activities supported by this award.
  • The candidate must be enrolled in a doctoral program at the time of submission of the application
  • The application must be prepared and submitted exclusively by the student and must outline an original research project (distinct from the project of a mentor, whether funded by TRDRP or another source).
  • A letter of support from the mentor and a minimum of two additional references are required. Letters of support should address the candidate’s training, potential and the commitment of the mentor and the department to the candidate’s career development. In addition, the mentor must provide a detailed mentoring plan that is prepared in consultation with the applicant.
  • U.S. citizenship is not a requirement.

Review criteria:

Criteria-1 (50 percent scoring weight)

  • Qualifications of the applicant: Does the applicant present a strong academic background and research training? What is the potential for the applicant to become a successful independent researcher with a commitment to the field of tobacco-related research or any of the stated research priorities?
  • Training plan: Does the proposed mentoring plan include effective ancillary activities that will enhance the training of the applicant as an independent researcher? Are additional experiences planned that will supplement the trainee’s knowledge of their research field? Are there any didactic or interactive activities planned for increasing the trainee’s knowledge base in tobacco research and tobacco control or any of the stated research priorities?

Criteria-2 (25 percent scoring weight)

  • Mentor’s qualifications and commitment: Based on the advisor and the department, as demonstrated by the letters of support and training plan, the quality of the training resources and environment.
  • Environment: Does the institutional environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support and commitment?
  • Community engagement and communication plan: Does the fellow propose a sound approach to engaging communities affected by tobacco use in either a collaborative partnership or by proactively informing about the nature and significance of the research and research outcomes? To what extent does the dissemination of relevant results of funded research include channels and tools targeting clinicians, public health practitioners, advocates, policymakers and the general public?

Criteria-3 (25 percent scoring weight)

  • Research plan: Are the conceptual framework, design (including composition of study population and strength of recruitment plan), methods and analyses adequately developed, well-integrated and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative strategies? Will the proposed research training experience significantly contribute to the development of the candidate’s career potential as a researcher in the proposed area?
  • Tobacco-relatedness: To what extent does the application focus on tobacco prevention, treatment, regulation, or tobacco-related disease?

Other considerations:

  • Protection of human subjects from research risk: If human subjects are involved, protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed.
  • Inclusion of women, minorities and children in research: If human subjects are involved, the adequacy of plans to include subjects of both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups) and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects also will be evaluated.
  • Care and use of vertebrate animals in research: If vertebrate animals are involved in the project, plans for their care and use will be assessed.