Note: While each section of the Research Plan needs to be uploaded separately as a PDF attachment, applicants are encouraged to construct the Research Plan as a single document, separating sections into distinct PDF attachments just before uploading the files. This approach will enable applicants to better monitor formatting requirements such as page limits. All attachments must be provided to CDC in PDF format, filenames must be included with no spaces or special characters, and a .pdf extension must be used.
Information on the student's academic standing as well as a commitment from the school to implement the study as proposed must be included in the application. The student's advisor must submit with the grant application a letter of recommendation in support of the candidate and the proposed research dissertation.
(4) INVESTIGATOR/MENTORING: Is the student-investigator appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the proposed work appropriate to the mentor(s)’ experience and the quality of the dissertation award application? Are the mentors appropriately qualified to provide guidance as needed? Have the mentors indicated that they will commit sufficient time and attention to the student? Is evidence of strong mentoring seen in the quality of the dissertation application? Does the student-investigator hold promise to be a contributor to the field of health services research, as determined by his/her career plans, mentor’(s)’ written assessments, the topic of the dissertation?
Investigator/Mentor:Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the doctoral candidate-investigator? Does the student show promise as a research investigator in areas relevant to the proposal? Is the proposed research project consistent with the long-term research interests of the applicant? Are the faculty advisor/dissertation chair and other doctoral committee members appropriately qualified to provide guidance as needed? Have the faculty advisor/dissertation chair and any other participating members of the committee indicated that they will provide sufficient time to allow completion of the dissertation? Will the faculty advisor/dissertation chair provide the necessary supervision and mentoring to the student?
Environment: Do(es) the scientific environment(s) 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?
Reviewers will be asked to balance the technical merit of the grant application with strong emphasis placed on their assessment of the applicant's potential as a future health services researcher, as reflected in accompanying letters, the quality and relevance of the written proposal, the caliber of the infrastructure to provide necessary guidance and support to the student, the dissertation chair or faculty advisor’s evaluation of the student, faculty biosketches, and background of the dissertation committee members.
All applicants must include a plan for sharing research data in their application. The data sharing policy is available at . All investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a description of how final research data will be shared, or explain why data sharing is not possible.
The reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing research data will be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not factor the proposed data sharing plan into the determination of scientific merit or the priority score.
For sections 6-10, Human Subjects Sections, must be completed if the proposed research involves any contact with or data on humans (e.g., patients, providers, administrators), including data obtained from secondary publicly or privately available data sources. These sections do not count toward the 10-page limitation. AHRQ does not require completion of item 8, Targeted/Planned Enrollment Table.
Letter of Certification: A letter from the faculty committee or university official directly responsible for supervising the development and progress of the dissertation research must be submitted with the application. The letter must: (a) fully identify the members of the dissertation committee and certify their approval of the dissertation proposal; (b) certify that all requirements for the doctoral degree, except the dissertation and, if necessary, the clinical internship, are completed or will be completed by the time the grant award starts; (c) note that the university official or faculty committee expects the doctoral candidate to proceed with the approved project proposal with or without CDC support; and (d) briefly describe the facilities and resources for the project and certify that they are adequate to conduct the proposed research. This should be placed in the Letters of Support attachment.
Items 2-5 (Research Plan Attachments) must not exceed 10 pages. Note that this section will be called “Research Plan” in the system-generated Table of Contents. Part of the research plan should describe any potential outcomes, products and/or impact of the proposed research on policy or practice, as well as dissemination plans, which involve traditional academic as well as nontraditional means of communicating relevant research findings to policymakers or health care delivery personnel. A clear description of the unique contribution of this effort must be included, especially if the research builds upon ongoing or previously conducted work by the principal investigator, or other dissertation committee member/faculty.
Level of Effort: Although level of effort is reported in terms of months, it is expected that students will devote 100 percent time and effort (based on 40 hours per week) on the dissertation for a minimum of nine months beginning at the time of award. The time of award should be estimated to begin no less than five months from the submission date. Receipt of additional compensation (e.g., pay) for performance of work that is distinctly separate from the actual work involved in the conduct of the dissertation is allowable, but cannot exceed a paid level of effort greater than 20 hours per week.
In keeping with the Agency's efforts to translate the results of AHRQ-funded research into practice and policy, grantees are to inform the AHRQ Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) when articles from their AHRQ supported activities are accepted for publication in the professional literature. Grantees should also discuss any ideas about other dissemination and marketing efforts with OCKT staff. The goal is to ensure that efforts to disseminate research findings are coordinated with other Agency activities to maximize awareness and application of the research by potential users, including clinicians, patients, health care systems and purchasers and policymakers. This is critical when outreach to the general and trade press is involved. Contact with the media will take place in close coordination with OCKT and the press offices of the grantee's institutions. In cases when products are created (such as annual or final reports, Web-based tools, CD-ROMs), grantees will be asked to submit to OCKT a brief plan describing how the product will be publicized. An OCKT staff person will be assigned to each product and will coordinate the implementation of the plan, especially issues related to printing and electronic dissemination, and outreach to the media.
The dissertation candidate, who must be matriculated in an accredited doctoral program, will be the designated PD/PI. The mentor for the PD/PI should be listed as a key person. Other key persons are the other members of the dissertation committee, as well as any other consultants involved in the research project. Attach a biographical sketch for the PD/PI, mentor, and all other key personnel. It is strongly encouraged that the doctoral dissertation committee include recognized health services researchers with appropriate interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary expertise necessary to fully support the research activities.