Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

The specific tables to be completed will depend on the following:

  • Whether it is a grant with slots for predocs, postdocs, or both.
  • Whether it is a new proposal or a renewal application

These guidelines should determine the set of tables to be completed as part of the application. Instructions for all of the tables are provided by the NIH.

BGS can provide preliminary versions of tables 1, 2, 3, 4, 6A, and 8A, which will need to be finalized by PI and staff. Generally, BGS can provide more help for predoc tables than postdoc tables. In order to create these tables, you will need to provide a trainer list for those who will be included in the submission.

No, those questions are better suited for ORSS, or for the Business Office that manages these issues.

BGS has developed a Training Grant Database, in collaboration with PMACS. This system pulls data points from a variety of university sources to create preliminary versions of the Data Tables.

At this point, the Database is still a work in progress, and is not currently made available to those outside BGS. 

The trainer list will naturally change over time. Generally, it is easier to remove trainers from tables than it is to add them later on, so it makes sense to include people who are on the “maybe” list.

No, all tables will need to be validated, formatted, and converted to a PDF format in order to upload.

No, generally this is done by an administrator in the department that “houses” the grant. The PI should be able to determine who this would be. 

Since much of the narrative portion of the application is based on the information contained in the Data Tables, it is very useful to start the application process by formulating the Data Tables as soon as a workable trainer list is available.

The Data Table Instructions lists a Rationale for each individual table. This can help understand how to make decisions on how to present certain data points in the tables.

No. The final versions must be PDFs, but they can be created in Microsoft Word, Excel, or in XTract. Excel tends to handle tables more effectively than Word, so Excel is highly recommended. 

No, all of the PDFs should be combined into a single document. Importantly, you must remove the bookmarks from the final PDF (which often happens when combining multiple documents). Leaving these bookmarks in the PDF may result in an error message when uploading.

If you are confused about what a specific term or column in a table refers to, refer to the Consolidated Training Tables instructions provided by the NIH, which contains a list of columns with details on what is required for each one.

At this point, xTRACT is only required for RPPRs. The only table required for RPPRs is table 8. Check NIH Notices for updates to this policy.

These tables are specific to predoc or postdoc grants. The “A” tables are for grants with predoc slots, and the “B” tables are usually for grants with postdoc slots (with the exception of table 8, where table 8C is for postdoc information). If a grant has both predoc and postdoc slots, you need to submit A and B (or A and C).

The grant ID includes a 2 digit alphabetic code based on the awarding institute. A list of these codes (as well as other NIH acronyms) can be found on the NIH website.

More details on the Grant IDs can be found on this Deciphering NIH Application/Grant Numbers document.

NIH Reporter is available to anyone (no account needed). Detailed information about all NIH grants are listed here, including direct costs, start/end dates, and PI information. Please note that annual slot numbers and trainer lists are not available in NIH Reporter.

Tables 1-4

Overview:

This table highlights the existing pool of trainees in the graduate groups and departments that can be considered “participating” with the T32. This group of programs should cover the specific academic area related to this particular training program. The goal of this table is to demonstrate that the proposed grant has enough trainees that would be appropriate for appointment to the grant.

Timeframe of Dataset:

This table requires numbers of current trainers and trainees in the graduate groups and departments. Think of it as a “snapshot” of the current numbers.

What does a successful table 1 look like?

Table 1 should show that the graduate groups and departments you choose to highlight on this table have a good record of supporting trainees. It is also important to demonstrate the connection between the trainers on the grant and the training that takes place in the department or graduate group. 

Do I need to include part I if this is a postdoc-only grant?

The instructions are vague on this front (from the instructions: “Applicants proposing research training in settings where there are no students in predoctoral research training, such as some clinical departments or divisions, should omit Part I; all other applicants are expected to complete Parts I and II, regardless of whether this is a predoctoral or postdoctoral program application.”) This can be interpreted differently depending on whether the setting in question is Penn, CHOP, or the training grant itself. Check with the program officer for clarification.

Do I need to include part II if this is a predoc-only grant?

Yes.

Should I include just the trainees supported by this grant?

No, you should include all trainees in the grad group or department, except in the last column, which is specific to the trainees on this grant. If the table is for a new application, this last column can remain blank.

What is the time period covered by this table?

This should be a current snapshot of trainee and faculty numbers.

What is HHS funding?

This stands for the Department of Health and Human Services Please note that this column specifically refers to HHS training awards. Generally, this would refer to T32s, F awards, or other similar training grants (NIH T32, T90/R90, F30, F31, AHRQ T32, CDC T03). 

What does ‘eligible’ mean?

In this context, eligible refers to Training Grant Eligibility, meaning US Citizens or Permanent Residents.

What’s the difference between part I and part II?

Part I highlights the existing training environment for predocs and part II highlights the existing environment for postdocs. At Penn, predoc training occurs in graduate groups and postdoc training occurs in departments.

Which graduate groups should I include?

While there is no firm policy, the general rule of thumb is to include the graduate groups that house your predoc trainees (either historically or potential future trainees).The preliminary version of this table will include all graduate groups where your trainers have appointments (according to available university records). In most cases, many of these can (and should) be removed.  It can be helpful to use this table part to highlight the niche academic area pertaining to the training grant in question.

Should I include every graduate group where my trainers have an appointment?

No, this is not necessary. While it can be appealing to use this table to represent the interdisciplinary nature of the trainers, there are other parts of the application to demonstrate this. Further, including graduate groups with a limited connection to the training faculty (for example, one participating trainer but no trainees with participating faculty) could be confusing to reviewers.

How do I total the faculty numbers?

The total faculty and total participating faculty should be a total of unique faculty members. Since many faculty members have appointments in multiple graduate groups, a simple sum of the columns will likely count the same person twice. You should remove all duplicate names from the list of all trainers, and use that total number for the final row. Predoctoral trainees can only be in one graduate group, so a simple sum for those numbers would be appropriate.

Which departments should I include?

While there is no firm policy, the general rule of thumb is to include the departments that house your postdoc trainees (either historically or potential future trainees). The preliminary version of this table will include all departments where your trainers have appointments (according to available university records). In most cases, many of these can (and should) be removed.  It can be helpful to use this table part to highlight the niche academic area pertaining to the training grant in question.

Should I include every department where my trainers have an appointment?

No, this is not necessary. While it can be appealing to use this table to represent the interdisciplinary nature of the trainers, there are other parts of the application to demonstrate this. Further, including departments with a limited connection to the training faculty (for example, one participating trainer but no trainees with participating faculty) could be confusing to reviewers.

How do I total the faculty numbers?

The total faculty and total participating faculty should be a total of unique faculty members. Since faculty members may have appointments in multiple departments, a simple sum of the columns will likely count the same person twice.You should remove all duplicate names from the list of all trainers, and use that total number for the final row. Postdoctoral trainees can only be in one department, so a simple sum for those numbers would be appropriate.

Table Overview:

This table is essentially a list of the trainers, along with the current and former trainees in their lab.

Timeframe of Dataset:

The trainee record covers both current trainees and former trainees going back ten years. 

What does a successful table 2 look like?

A successful table 2 would demonstrate that the trainers you have selected for your T32 application have a solid record of training predoc and/or postdoc trainees. A few red flags could be:

  • A trainer with zero training record (unless they are junior faculty members - see below)
  • A trainer with multiple former trainees who have left the field altogether
  • Information that expands beyond the ten year timeframe required by the table instructions

Which people should I include on this table?

This table should only include faculty members who are listed as a preceptor/trainer on the T32 application. Advisory board members who are not trainers do not need to be added to this list.

Can I list rotation students as current or former trainees?

No. The instructions require that this table “Exclude predoctorates doing research rotations, and clinical interns and residents unless they have been or are currently engaged in full-time, mentored research training in the faculty member’s research group.

What if someone has no trainees?

A junior faculty member with no trainees can still be listed as a trainer on the grant. However, it can be very useful to articulate (in the narrative portion of the proposal) the support provided within the T32 community for mentoring training. Faculty members in a primarily clinical setting also may not have trainees that are eligible to be added to this table. This should also be detailed in the narrative portion of the grant, perhaps with an asterisk within the table explaining the clinical training.

Do I need to include predocs if this is a postdoc-only grant (and vice versa)?

Yes, all predoc and postdoc trainees should be included on this table.

How do I determine whether a former trainee is in research or a related field?

PhD student career outcomes are tracked in a Penn-designed system called Career Tracker. Graduate programs are able to enter employment positions into this online system as they track their alumni. BGS is able to access this data for alums who graduated from BGS students, but not from students at different schools.

Postdoctoral outcomes for BPP postdocs (at PSOM, Dental, Nursing, and Vet) are available through BPP staff, who partner with Academic Analytics to collect postdoc career outcomes. If you would like to request data for this table from BPP, please contact Gabby Ostapovich

Table Overview:

This table shows the connections between the training grant in question and the other training grants with overlapping trainers. This can show connections between training programs as well as the array of training grants at Penn/CHOP/Wistar.

Timeframe of Dataset:

Active training grants at the time of submission.

What does a successful table 3 look like?

A good table 3 would demonstrate that the trainers who have been selected to be on this training grant are experienced with performing in a training grant environment. However, a grant with a relatively high number of overlapping trainers may give the impression that the grant in question is similar to the application’s program. So, it would be important to explain the differences between the grants to illustrate that they don’t serve the same population or that they support a different academic area.

Should I include exclusively T32s?

The table instructions ask for inclusion of “federal institutional training (e.g., NIH T32, T35, AHRQ T32), career development, and research education (e.g., NIH R25, K12/KL2, TL1).” Given the number of awards at Penn, some PIs elect to remove certain training grants to maintain a more concise list. 

What if I have a grant on this table with a lot of overlapping trainers?

This can happen, particularly since some grants have very long trainer lists. This is reasonable, but should be explained in the narrative portion of the grant.

Should I include grants outside Penn?

Given the close ties that Penn has to CHOP and Wistar, BGS maintains information on T32s at those institutions. Those grants will be included on the tables provided by our office.

Table Overview:

This table lists active research funding of participating faculty. The purpose of this table is to demonstrate that faculty are conducting research relevant to the training grant and to show that funds will be available to support trainees’ research.

Timeframe of Dataset:

Active grants at the date of submission in which the trainer serves as PI, MPI, or Project or Core Lead (see below for more details).

Should I include every grant a trainer includes on their Other Support page?

Not necessarily. The instructions provide some details on which grants to include and exclude:

Include research grants from all sources that will provide the context for the planned research training experiences. Exclude institutional research training grants, institutional career development grants, and research education grants. 

Why does the table have ‘None’ listed next to a trainer?

There are two possible reasons for this:

  1. The trainer is a relatively new faculty member with no grants or is a faculty member between grant support.
  2. The trainer is housed at a different institution (such as CHOP) and their research support is managed through a system other than PennERA (which is the data source for this table).

What if a trainer genuinely has no funding on this table?

If a trainer does not have active funding, then “None” should be listed under Funding Source column in Table 4. This could be a red flag for reviewers and should be addressed in the grant text.

Does this grant really have $1 in direct costs?

Probably not - this is likely a placeholder or a symbolic amount. Check NIH Reporter or other sources to find the accurate amount.

Why are there some grants that list the trainer as an Investigator? Should I keep this grant on the table?

Again, not necessarily. You should include grants which list the trainer as a PI (which you can find in NIH Reporter). In some cases, a large grant may have subawards. If the trainer is a listed PI on a subaward, you should include that subaward (not the larger grant):

For each participating faculty member, provide the full grant number for the currently active research grant support in which the faculty member has a role of PD/PI or, in the case of a multi-project grant or cooperative agreement, Project or Core Lead. If the source of the research support is part of a multi-project grant or cooperative agreement (e.g., P01, P50, U10, U19, U54), provide the relevant information only for that component for which the faculty member is responsible. 

Is there any way to verify the direct costs to ensure I am including the appropriate amount on the table?

All NIH funding is available publicly via NIH Reporter. The Details page under a grant entry should provide the correct amount to include for the year’s direct cost.

Tables 5-8

Table Overview:

The purpose of this table is to demonstrate productivity of predoctoral trainees by providing publication data.

Timeframe of Dataset:

Predocs mentored by trainers in the last 10 years that would be eligible for the training program.

What does a successful table 5A look like?

A successful table will include first authored publications by the trainee with the mentor as an author. Publications should be listed in chronological order; the trainee’s name should be in bold.

Which trainees should I include if this is a new application?

For new applications, this table should include publications of representative predoctorates from the last 10 years and all current trainees. From the directions: Only include individuals who would have been eligible for appointment to this training program. Exclude individuals undertaking short-term (12 week or less) training experiences with a faculty member.

How do I find publications?

Trainee publications can be identified by searching in PubMed or Google Scholar.

Can I include any papers that haven’t been published?

Papers that have been published or manuscripts accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals can be listed in this table.

What if there is a paper that was published after the trainee finished their training on the grant, or even after they graduated?

If the publication was a produced as a result of their period of training, it can be included in the table. Do not list publications resulting from work done prior to entering the training program or arising from research initiated after the completion of the program.

Table Overview:

The purpose of this table is to demonstrate productivity of postdoctoral trainees by providing publication data.

Timeframe of Dataset:

Postdocs mentored by trainers in the last 10 years that would be eligible for the training program.

What does a successful table 5B look like?

A successful table will include first authored publications by the trainee with the mentor as an author. Publications should be listed in chronological order and the trainee’s name should be in bold.

How do I find publications?

Trainee publications can be identified by searching in PubMed or Google Scholar.

Can I include any papers that haven’t been published?

This table should only include papers that have been published or manuscripts accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

What if there is a paper that was published after the trainee finished their training on the grant, or even after they finished their postdoctoral fellowship?

Only publications that were produced as a result of the training period should be included in this table. If the research was performed during the training period, the paper can be included in the table.

Table Overview:

This table is used by reviewers to assess the selectivity of the admissions process, the competitiveness of the training program, and the appropriate number of training positions to be awarded.

Timeframe of Dataset:

This table covers a total of five years: the most recently completed academic year, and the four years prior.

What does a successful table 6A look like?

A successful table 6A demonstrates that the graduate groups listed as “participating” with the T32 have a record of recruiting excellent PhD students who could ultimately be appointed to the predoc slots on the T32. The trainees on table 6A could be considered to be in the “pipeline” for the T32.

Which graduate groups should I include?

Generally, you would want to include the same graduate groups you list in table 1 part I. Table 1 shows the existing pool of trainees who are eligible for appointment to the T32 in question, and table 6A is an opportunity to show the pipeline of future potential trainees.

How do I get this information?

For all BGS graduate groups (the groups within PSOM), the BGS office can provide a version of this table. For graduate groups outside PSOM, work with BGS to collect this information to incorporate into the table.

How do I determine if a trainee is from an underrepresented group?

Follow the guidance in the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity to determine the criteria for underrepresented trainees. BGS can confirm whether an individual trainee in one of its graduate groups should be considered to be underrepresented.

Who should be included in the last column (with trainees appointed to this grant)?

This should include admissions information for trainees appointed for the year they matriculated to their PhD program (not the year they were appointed to the grant).

Table Overview:

This table is used by reviewers to evaluate the ability of participating departments to recruit trainees and assess the selectivity of the admissions process, the competitiveness of the training program, and the appropriate number of training positions to be awarded.

Timeframe of Dataset:

This table covers a total of five years: the most recently completed academic year, and the four years prior.

What does a successful table 6B look like?

A successful table 6B demonstrates that the departments listed as “participating” with the T32 have a record of recruiting excellent postdocs who could ultimately be appointed to the T32. The trainees on table 6B could be considered to be in the “pipeline” for the T32.

Why does this table request admissions data for postdocs?

In theory, this table is written with the expectation that a process similar to the PhD application process takes place to appoint postdoctoral fellows to departments. Generally, this is not the case at Penn, so we have to be creative with how we complete this table. A good first step would be to work with PIs who have submitted a table 6B recently - BGS can help identify these PIs.

Which departments should I include?

Generally, you would want to include the same departments you list in table 1 part II. Table 1 shows the existing pool of trainees who are eligible for appointment to the T32 in question, and table 6 is an opportunity to show the pipeline of future potential trainees.

How do I get this information?

Unlike table 6A, much of this information is not available centrally. BPP can provide some information for certain departments. 

How do I determine if a trainee is from an underrepresented group?

Follow the guidance in the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity to determine the criteria for underrepresented trainees. BPP may be able to confirm whether an individual trainee should be considered to be underrepresented.

Who should be included in the last column (with trainees appointed to this grant)?

This should include admissions information for trainees appointed for the year they began their postdoctoral fellowship (not the year they were appointed to the grant).

Table Overview:

This table provides demographic info on the trainees who have been supported by the grant during the current budget period.

Timeframe of Dataset:

This table provides details on the trainees who occupied the trainee slots in the first four budget years of the funding cycle (assuming the application is being completed during the fifth budget year).

What does a successful table 7 look like?

A successful table 7 shows that the trainee slots have been filled (i.e., no empty slots during a year of the budget period).

Where do I get this information?

Generally, this table is completed by someone in a Business Administrator capacity, or someone who has been responsible for completing the appointments in xTRAIN.

Table Overview:

This table is required for T32s with predoc slots. If the T32 has both predoc and postdoc slots, you should complete both tables 8A and 8C. This table is an opportunity to demonstrate the successes that trainees have had after their appointment on the T32. The table requires graduation details, career outcomes, and subsequent grant awards. This table is divided into four parts:

  • Part I. Those Appointed to the Training Grant - trainees who were appointed to this training grant
  • Part II. Those Clearly Associated with the Training Grant - trainees who had similar training to the appointed trainees, but were not appointed to the grant. This can demonstrate the trainees who could be eligible for appointment to this grant if more slots were available.
  • Part III. Recent Graduates - trainees who graduated in the academic areas related to this grant. This could be interpreted as the same set of trainees as part II, except instead of current students you would list graduates.
  • Part IV. Program Statistics - this section includes only two data points: completion rate of the PhD degree for appointed trainees and time to degree for the trainees who matriculated to their PhD 10 years ago at the time of the application.

Timeframe of Dataset:

  • Each section of this table covers a different timeframe:
  • Part I - trainees who have been supported by this grant at any time during the last 15 grant years
  • Part II - current trainees, but there is some expectation that you may need to track these people in future submissions (please refer to the instructions for more details)
  • Part III - students graduating in a field or from a program similar to the proposed program in the last five years
  • Part IV - this section covers a ten year period

What does a successful table 8A look like?

A successful table 8A will show that the people who have been appointed to the grant ended up in great careers in science, and that some of them were awarded grants during their career. 

How do I decide what to list as “workforce sector” and “principal activity” for each trainee?

As much as possible, follow the guidance in the instructions. This guidance is minimal, so the PI should make a determination of how to classify different types of positions. It is important to classify positions in a consistent manner across the entire table.

How do I determine who should be considered as a “clearly associated” trainee?

These should be trainees with similar training experiences as the appointed trainees, but who are not appointed to the grant. There is no specific guidance from NIH to determine exactly who this should be, so a few options are as follows:

Trainees in the graduate groups listed in table 1, part I

Trainees who are in the labs of the mentors on the trainer list (table 2)

Trainees who are have appointments on other T32s at Penn

Does part II include only current trainees or do I have to track career outcomes for trainees who were not appointed to the grant (“clearly associated”)

The instructions indicate that you may need to include details on career outcomes even for trainees that are not ever appointed to the training grant in question. Refer to the instructions for more details, and if possible, confirm with the Program Officer about their expectations.

Table 8B is only for T32s with short term slots (often summer students). Almost all T32s at Penn are predoc, postdoc, or both so this table is rarely needed.

Table Overview:

This table is required for T32s with postdoc slots. If the T32 has both predoc and postdoc slots, you should complete both tables 8A and 8C. This table is an opportunity to demonstrate the successes that trainees have had after their appointment on the T32. The table requires graduation details, career outcomes, and subsequent grant awards. This table is divided into four parts:

  • Part I. Those Appointed to the Training Grant - trainees who were appointed to this training grant
  • Part II. Those Clearly Associated with the Training Grant - trainees who had similar training to the appointed trainees, but were not appointed to the grant. This can demonstrate the trainees who could be eligible for appointment to this grant if more slots were available.
  • Part III. Recent Graduates - trainees who finished their postdoctoral fellowships in the academic areas related to this grant. This could be interpreted as the same set of trainees as part II, except instead of current students you would list former postdocs.

Timeframe of Dataset:

Each section of this table covers a different timeframe:

  • Part I - trainees who have been supported by this grant at any time during the last 15 grant years
  • Part II - current trainees, but there is some expectation that you may need to track these people in future submissions (please refer to the instructions for more details)
  • Part III - students completing their postdoctoral fellowship in a field or from a program similar to the proposed program in the last five years

What does a successful table 8C look like?

A successful table 8C will show that the people who have been appointed to the grant ended up in great careers in science, and that some of them were awarded grants during their career. 

How do I decide what to list as “workforce sector” and “principal activity” for each trainee?

As much as possible, follow the guidance in the instructions. This guidance is minimal, so the PI should make a determination of how to classify different types of positions. It is important to classify positions in a consistent manner across the entire table.

How do I determine who should be considered as a “clearly associated” trainee?

These should be trainees with similar training experiences as the appointed trainees, but who are not appointed to the grant. There is no specific guidance from NIH to determine exactly who this should be, so a few options are as follows:

Trainees in the departments listed in Table 1, part II

Trainees who are in the labs of the mentors on the trainer list (Table 2)

Trainees who are have appointments on other T32s at Penn

Does part II include only current trainees or do I have to track career outcomes for trainees who were not appointed to the grant (“clearly associated”)

The instructions indicate that you may need to include details on career outcomes even for trainees that are not ever appointed to the training grant in question. Refer to the instructions for more details, and if possible, confirm with the Program Officer about their expectations.