Medical Research

PSF Frequently Asked Questions

Physician Scientist Fellowship Frequently Asked Questions

Jump to FAQ's about: Application (including tax status), Budget,  Electronic Confidential Support MaterialEligibilityEligibility Criteria Exceptions, Miscellaneous Issues (including IRB requirements, indirect costs, salary caps, preliminary animal research and success rates), and Other Funding.

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQs, email ddcf@aibs.org with “2019 PSF – Last Name” as the subject line.  Please refrain from calling us by phone with questions. Calling can delay a timely response, and we are better able to answer your questions via email.

Application

How do I return to my online application form once I've started it?

You may use this link to access an application that is in progress. You should bookmark this page to return to your application form.

Are there any limitations on the number of proposals that can be submitted per institution for this competition?

No. There are no limits regarding the number of proposals that can be submitted per institution or department within an institution. However, applicants must meet all eligibility criteria and submit a complete application to be considered for the competition.

Why are there restrictions on the tax status of the institution accepting the award?

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) can award grants only to institutions that have letters from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service documenting that they are exempt from federal income taxation as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and that they are not a private foundation or a Type III supporting organization as defined in Section 509(a). Please contact ddcf@aibs.org if you have any questions.

Why is the tax ID for my institution not being accepted when I try to access the form?

The tax ID is not working because it is not associated with 501(c)(3) organization in the IRS database.

I work for a state university. Which tax ID do I need for my application?

While state universities are eligible for tax deductible contributions (and many other foundations can make grants directly to a state university) DDCF must make grants to state institutions through their 501(c)(3) grant-receiving arms. For example, applicants from the University of Texas may apply through the University of Texas Foundation. Contact your institution's grants office to obtain the tax ID number of the appropriate grant-receiving organization to gain access to the eligibility questionnaire and pre-proposal. DDCF is unable to provide information on the tax ID that applicants must use to gain access to the application site. Please note that eligible candidates at state universities are eligible to apply; this tax ID requirement does not preclude their application for the award.

Budget

The Physician Scientist Fellowship allows applicants the option to elect for one or two years of support to conduct additional research, depending on the need. Please review the Request for Applications for guidance on how to complete the budget template.

Is there a budget guideline reference document available to prepare the budget?

Guidelines for preparing a budget, as well as a budget template, are part of the Request for Applications.

Does the award provide coverage of indirect costs?

Indirect costs for the duration of the award can be up to 10 percent of direct costs per year (up to $10,000 total for one-year awards or $20,000 total for two-year awards).

Is there a salary cap for this award?

No. The foundation does not have a salary cap for what can be charged against this award.

Can I request salary support for my mentor in the budget?

No. Salary support for the mentor(s) is not allowed on the Physician Scientist Fellowship award.

Does the Physician Scientist Fellowship allow budgeting for equipment?

No. Equipment is not an allowable cost for the Physician Scientist Fellowship.

Electronic Confidential Support Material

Where can my mentor and department chair access the online support forms needed for my application?

When you, the applicant, provide the contact information for the mentor and department chair at https://ddcf.aibs-scores.org, they will be emailed instructions on how to access the online confidential support forms. We strongly suggest you provide the contact information for your mentor and department chair at the website above well in advance of the application submission deadline of 3 p.m., ET on June 7, 2019.

My mentor and/or department chair would like to provide letters of support on institutional letterhead. Can I append these to my application?

The application requires the mentor and department/division chair to complete fillable PDF forms demonstrating commitment to the fellow’s career development. At the time of completing the PDF forms, only the mentor will be required to upload a letter of support on institutional letterhead. This letter should not be attached to the application and should only be uploaded by the mentor. Attaching additional materials may disqualify you from the competition.  Please see the Request for Applications instructions for additional details.

Can my institutional support confirmation form be provided by the head of my division rather than the department chair?

Applicants who are part of a department of medicine or pediatrics may have their division chief provide the Institutional Commitment PDF form. Division chiefs in the departments of medicine or pediatrics may provide this form only if they are authorized to confirm the applicant’s appointment term and guarantee that she or he will be provided with the required research time protection (80 percent) if selected to receive the Physician Scientist Fellowship award. All other applicants must have this form completed by their department chair. 

I have more than one mentor. Can all my mentors submit online mentorship forms?

No. You must choose one mentor to submit only one Mentorship Form on behalf of the mentorship team.

The Mentorship Form will require a letter of support on institutional letterhead to be uploaded. At this time, a joint letter or separate letters from each mentor may be uploaded as one PDF file. Please see the Request for Applications instructions for additional details.

Is it best to have a single mentor or a mentorship team for the application?

The foundation cannot make a recommendation as to whether a single or multiple mentors are appropriate for an application. This is a decision for you and your mentor(s) to make based on your specific project and the role that mentors are expected to play should an award be made.

My mentor is from a different institution. Is that acceptable?

The competition does not have requirements regarding location or institutional affiliations of the mentor(s). We are unable to provide specific direction about characteristics of the most appropriate mentor(s) for the application. The applicant’s institutional environment and mentorship are evaluated based on the review criteria described in the Request for Applications document. Mentors are expected to play an active role during the course of the Physician Scientist Fellowship award in fostering the applicant’s career development and capacity for independence. Mentors are expected to act as advocates for the applicant at the departmental, institutional and professional levels and to provide scientific guidance for the proposed project.

My mentor is the chair of my department. Do I need to find another person to submit my mentorship form?

No. Your chair may submit both the Mentorship Form and the Institutional Commitment Form. However, note that the two forms are different, thus your mentor will have to submit both of them by the mentor/chair deadline of 3 p.m., ET on June 6, 2019. Applications with missing forms will be disqualified from the competition. 

Will I be notified when my mentor or department chair submit their online forms?  

Yes. You will receive an email notification when the mentor and department chair submit their online forms for your application. We recommend that you add ddcf@aibs.org to your email safe senders list. If you have not received the confirmation emails as the application deadline approaches, please follow up with the mentor and department chair prior to contacting the foundation. You may also log into  your account at https://ddcf.aibs-scores.org to check whether the materials were received.

Due to the volume of applications expected for this competition, DDCF will not check if your mentor or department chair have submitted their forms until after the deadline, and missing forms will eliminate applicants from the competition. We strongly suggest you provide the contact information for your mentor and department chair at the website well in advance of the application deadline of June 7, 2019. 

Note that once materials are submitted by your recommenders, changes to the contact information for your department/division chair or the mentor may not be made. You must contact ddcf@aibs.org to request the change.

Can I replace mentors after submission of an application?

No. Changes to the mentor(s) are not allowed once an application has been submitted.

Also note that once materials are submitted by your recommenders, changes to the contact information for your department/division chair or the mentor may not be made. You must contact ddcf@aibs.org to request the change.

Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants must be in subspecialty fellowship training at the time of application and the start of the award. Please see the Request for Applications for additional information on the eligibility criteria.

What is the definition of a doctoral degree-granting institution?

An accredited, doctoral degree-granting institution in the U.S encompasses the institution, all affiliated graduate schools, related hospitals and research institutes.

I am training at a state university. Does DDCF accept my applications?

Yes. DDCF welcomes applications from state universities. Given that many state universities do not have 501(c)(3) tax status, applicants from state universities are encouraged to apply through their institution’s 501(c)(3) grant-receiving arms. For example, applicants from the University of Texas may apply through the University of Texas Foundation. DDCF encourages applicants to seek guidance from their institution to identify the appropriate institutional entity through which they can apply. DDCF is unable to provide information on the tax ID that applicants must use to gain access to the application site, this information can only be provided by the applicants’ institutions.

I am unable to commit 80 percent of my time to research because I need to maintain my clinical specialty competency skills during the award period. Am I eligible to apply?

No. The purpose of the Physician Scientist Fellowship award is to support research during sub-specialty fellowship after completion of clinical training. Guaranteeing a minimum of 80 percent effort to research demonstrates institutional commitment to developing clinical investigators towards careers as independent researchers.

I am unable to commit 50 percent of my time to the project proposed in my application to DDCF. Am I eligible to apply?

No. Applicants must be able to commit at least 50 percent of their time to DDCF-supported research activities.

Am I eligible to apply if I do not have a valid U.S. medical license?

No. Only physician scientists with a valid U.S. medical license at the time of application are eligible for this competition.

I have a joint appointment. Which institution should I apply through?

You should apply through the institution where you plan to conduct your research, which also must be the institution that will administer your award.

Can non-U.S. citizens apply to the Physician Scientist Fellowship?

Yes. As long as the applicants meet all eligibility criteria, they do not need to be U.S. citizens to apply for the fellowship.

I work in clinical research, but I have a Ph.D., not an M.D. Am I eligible to apply?

No. Applicants must have received an M.D. (or a foreign equivalent) or a D.O. from an accredited institution to apply for this award.

I have a D.M.D/D.D.S. Am I eligible to apply?

No. Applicants must have received an M.D. (or a foreign equivalent) or a D.O. from an accredited institution to apply for this award.

I am an assistant professor. Am I eligible to apply?

No. Please see our Clinical Scientist Development Award for information on funding for early-career physician-scientists with faculty appointments.

I am an instructor. Am I eligible to apply?

No. Applicants must currently be a subspecialty fellow. Please see our Clinical Scientist Development Award for information on funding for early-career physician-scientists with faculty appointments.

I missed the eligibility window because I took a leave of absence for personal reasons during the clinical training portion of my fellowship. Will the foundation make an exception, so that I can apply?

Generally, the length of a parental leave or other well-justified leave for pressing personal or family situations (e.g., family care responsibilities, disability, illness or active military duty) may be deducted from the time requirements. However, you must still receive approval from the foundation by submitting an exemption request (see below) by 5 p.m., ET on May 3, 2019. Without submission of the exemption request by this deadline, your application will not be considered.

Eligibility Criteria Exemptions 

Are there any eligibility criteria exceptions or exemptions for the Physician Scientist Fellowship?

The foundation considers exceptions to eligibility criteria on a case-by-case basis and encourages exemption requests for leave of absence due to illness, maternity leave and extra-professional activities, such as care of an ill relative, etc., that have taken away considerable time from the eligibility period.

Exemptions for other eligibility criteria, such as requirements that applicants must have M.D. (or a foreign equivalent) or a D.O. and must be fellows, are not granted.

How can I request eligibility criteria exemptions?

All eligibility criteria exemption requests must be submitted via e-mail along with a biographical sketch to ddcf@aibs.org by 5 p.m., ET on May 3, 2019. There are no guarantees that exceptions will be made.  Responses to exemption requests will be emailed by the end of the business day on May 8, 2019.

Miscellaneous

What is DDCF's definition of clinical research?

Clinical research involves the scientific investigation of the etiology, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of human disease using human subjects, human populations or materials of human origin. Included in the definition are studies that use tissues or pathogens only if they can be linked to a patient. 

It is expected that the research protocols of grant applicants will require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Occasionally, the foundation has funded research that does not require IRB approval, such as research using de-identified patient populations. If a research project is being proposed that does not require IRB approval, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program staff via email at ddcf@aibs.org to discuss whether the proposed research falls within the DDCF's definition of clinical research.

Are there any limitations in terms of clinical areas you are willing to fund?

No. Clinical investigators working in any disease area are eligible for this award. This award program does not prioritize funding for any disease areas or research types. Meritorious applications are identified based on the review criteria for the competition listed in the Request For Applications document.

Does the foundation require a focus on specific disease areas or research types for funding through the Physician Scientist Fellowships?

No. The Physician Scientist Fellowship is available to fellows in all subspecialty disease areas. The foundation is generally neutral to research type and disease area in its funding decisions, provided that projects meet the definition of clinical research and have the potential to significantly advance the frontiers of clinical research.

Does the foundation have priority areas for funding for the Physician Scientist Fellowship competition?

No. The foundation does not have funding priority areas for this competition. The priority is to fund individuals with a desire to pursue careers in biomedical research. The selection of awardees is through a peer-review process evaluating both the potential of the applicant for a career in research as well as the potential of the project in supporting the investigator’s transition into a research faculty appointment.

Can I propose aims that will need use of non-human animal models for their completion?

No. Experiments that use non-human animals or primary tissues derived from them should not be included in the research plan. In keeping with the wishes expressed in Doris Duke’s will, experiments that use non-human animals or primary tissues derived from them will not be supported.

My proposed research aims build on preliminary data generated with non-human animal models or their primary tissues. Can I include these data in my application?

Yes. Animal-based research may be presented as preliminary evidence supporting the research plan, but the aims themselves may not include research with non-human animals.

My project is subject to Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Does IRB approval have to be in place before submitting an application?

No. IRB approval can be pending at the time of application submission; however, if you receive a grant, we expect that you will have approval by the grant start date of September 1, 2019.

My proposed project is subject to Investigational New Drug (IND) approval. Does IND approval need to be in place at the time of application submission?

Yes. IND approval must be in place at the time of application submission. Applications for projects with IND requirements that do not have approval at the time of submission will be disqualified. 

What is DDCF’s public access policy for publications funded through its grants?

For this program, DDCF requires grantees to submit an electronic copy of their final peer‐reviewed manuscripts in the PubMed Central online archive immediately upon acceptance for journal publication. The manuscript will have to be made publicly available in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after the official date of journal publication.

Would the public access policy adopted by DDCF limit the journals to which grantees can submit their DDCF-funded work?

No. Grantees may publish their work in any journal they wish. However, the final accepted manuscript must be deposited in PubMed Central for public release no later than 12 months after acceptance for publication.

What is the success rate for Physician Scientist Fellowship applicants?

There is no way to definitively know how many proposals we will receive this year, and therefore what the success rate will be. However, based on data from previous Medical Research Program competitions, we estimate an award rate of 10 percent.

How many awards will be made?

DDCF plans to award approximately four to eight grants in 2019.

Contact

Email questions about the Medical Research Program to ddcf@aibs.org.

Other Funding

I have a National Institutes of Health K series award. Can I still apply for the Physician Scientist Fellowship?

No. Individuals with NIH K awards may not apply.

I am supported on an institutional T32 grant from the NIH. Can I apply for the Physician Scientist Fellowship?

Please check the time and effort requirements of your NIH T32 support and make sure that you can commit 50 percent of your time to the DDCF-supported project.

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