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Letter of Certification. The faculty advisor, dissertation committee chair, or university official directly responsible for supervising the dissertation research must submit a letter certifying that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for this award. As only one .pdf file is allowed for the Letter of Support item in the PHS Research Plan Component, combine this letter with Letters of Support (below) into one file.
The only other key persons to be listed are the other members of the dissertation committee. Attach a biographical sketch for the PD/PI, mentor, and all other key personnel. It is strongly encouraged that the doctoral dissertation committee includes recognized health services researchers with appropriate interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary expertise necessary to fully support the research activities.
Note that individuals supported under Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms, including F30 and F31 predoctoral fellowships and predoctoral trainees on NIH institutional research training awards, are eligible to apply for a dissertation award. Such candidates may not receive concurrent support from a NRSA fellowship or traineeship and an R36 Dissertation Award.
In the Final Progress Report, the PD/PI must provide information on the status of his/her dissertation research project, the actual or anticipated dissertation defense date, the actual or anticipated graduation date, and post-doctoral career plans (e.g., if he/she has accepted a job or post-doctoral research position, and if so, the position title and the employer).
Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed? Innovation should be considered within the context of the doctoral dissertation: Is the level of innovation appropriate for the PD/PI’s career stage?
Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Does the student show promise as a research investigator in areas relevant to the application, as evidenced in his/her Biographical Sketch and reference letters? Are the faculty advisor/dissertation chair and other doctoral committee members appropriately qualified to provide guidance as needed, that is do they have sufficient experience and resources to provide the necessary supervision and mentoring? Have the faculty advisor/dissertation chair and any other participating members of the committee indicated that they will allocate sufficient time to guide and support the PD/PI so that he/she will complete the dissertation in a timely manner?
Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? Significance should be evaluated within the context of a doctoral dissertation: how will the successful completion of the aims help the applicant to advance his/her career goals?
2. A letter from the Candidate which must discuss career goals, background and interest in health services research, the anticipated manner in which the proposed dissertation will contribute to career goals, and the unique relevance of the proposed dissertation to AHRQ.
Overall impact should be evaluated within the context of a doctoral dissertation. Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to make a contribution to the field, and the extent to which it exemplifies the current state-of-the-art of the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).
The purpose of this program is to facilitate completion of a doctoral research project and dissertation in a research area relevant to the NIMH mission and research priorities, as articulated in the NIMH Strategic Plan. Because the Research Plan component is restricted to 6 pages, a dissertation research grant application will not have the same level of detail or extensive discussion found in an R01 application. Accordingly, reviewers should evaluate the conceptual framework and general approach to the problem, rather than methodological details and preliminary data. Appropriate justification for the proposed work may be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or from investigator-generated data. Preliminary data are not required.