NIDCR Dental Specialty and PhD Program (DSPP)(K12 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) RFA-DE-18-012

The goal of the NIDCR Dental Specialty and PhD Program (DSPP)(K12 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) RFA-DE-18-012 is to develop outstanding clinician scientists through an integrated program of advanced clinical training in a recognized dental specialty and supervised research training leading to a PhD in biomedical or behavioral science, or in another field applicable to dental, oral and craniofacial research.

The program should accelerate the process of early career dentist scientists in achieving competencies in both clinical and research areas and facilitate the transition to an independent and productive research career dedicated to improving dental, oral and craniofacial health. The Institutional K12 award provides salary support and research related expenses for the appointed DSPP Scholars during the PhD research phase of the program.

NIDCR held a pre-application webinar for RFA-DE-18-012 on January 10, 2018, see NOT-DE-18-006. The presentation can be found here  (1.2 MB)

We will be updating the information on this page as we receive additional questions. Please check back periodically. Please send questions regarding this FOA to

  1. Question: What are the RFA-DE-18-012 requirements for Scholar K12 appointments and the percent effort devoted to the clinical training and PhD research phases?
    Answer: The requirements for RFA-DE-18-012 have not changed.
    • Scholars are expected to devote 100% full time professional effort to the DSPP, including the clinical and PhD research training. The K12 provides salary support for the PhD research phase at the percent effort requested per year, for this component of the DSPP.
    • Scholars can be appointed to the K12 for 3-5 years duration of support during the PhD research phase of the DSPP. All K12 appointments must be 12 months in length
    • During a K12 appointment, each Scholar is required to devote 3 years at a minimum of 9 person months (equivalent to 75% of full-time professional effort) conducting research related to the PhD program.
    • Scholars appointed for a total of 4 or 5 years may devote 1 or 2 of those years, respectively, at a minimum of 6 person months (equivalent to 50% of full-time professional effort) conducting research related to the PhD program.
    • A minimum of 50% continuous and consistent full time professional effort towards research must be maintained during all K12 appointments during the PhD research periods. For example, 75% full time professional effort could be met by 6 months at 50% effort and 6 months at 100% effort, or by 12 months at 75% effort.
  2. Question: What are the eligibility requirements for the PD(s)/PI(s)?
    Answer: The application may have a single PD/PI or more than one PD/PI [multiple PD(s)/PI(s)]. If Multiple PD(s)/PI(s) are proposed, they must have complementary expertise and the potential to enhance multidisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary research training opportunities.

    If a single PD/PI is proposed, or if Multiple PD(s)/PI(s) are proposed, the single PD/PI or one of the Multiple PD(s)/PI(s) must have independent peer reviewed research funding at the time of application, and is expected to have ongoing (continuing) peer-reviewed research funding during an award. The independent peer reviewed research funding does not have to be from NIH/NIDCR. Intramural research funding typically does not qualify as independent peer reviewed research funding.

  3. Question: Are appendix materials allowed?
    Answer: Limited Appendix items are allowed in applications submitted in response to this RFA. Follow all instructions for the appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the NIH Guide Notice on appendix materials: NOT-OD-17-098 Applications that are non-compliant with this policy will be returned
  4. Question: How many awards does NIDCR intend to make in response to RFA-DE-18-012?
    Answer: NIDCR intends to commit $1,000,000 total costs in FY 2018 to the DSPP, inclusive of awards made to RFA-DE-18-003 and RFA-DE-18-012.
  5. Question: Will Scholars be able to perform clinical research supported by RFA-DE-18-012 NIDCR Dental Specialty and PhD Program (DSPP)(K12 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)?
    Answer: While Scholars will not be permitted to lead an independent clinical trial or an ancillary study to an ongoing clinical trial as lead investigator, scholars appointed to the K12 may gain research experience in a clinical trial led by a mentor or co-mentor.

    Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

    Special Guidance for K12 institutional career development awards is provided in Section T.220 the “R&R Other Project Information Form” of the NIH Training Application Instructions:

    Applicants for RFA DE 18012 (K12) “Clinical Trial Not Allowed” should follow the instructions for K12 “Clinical Trial Optional”.

    If K12 research plans could potentially involve Scholars in projects that include human subjects, applicants should respond “yes” to the question of whether human subjects are involved. For K12s, the initial answer on the “R&R Other Project Information Form” will populate the corresponding fields in the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Form (described in Section T.500 of the Application Guide), where applicants should follow the instructions for “delayed onset” study(ies).

  6. Question: What are the differences between RFA-DE-18-003 and the re-issue RFA-DE-18-012?
    Answer: Information has been added to comply with NIH policy on “clinical trial not allowed” research training. Some language that has been added to the FOA is listed below:
    • Training Data Tables: RFA DE 18-003 and RFA-DE-18-012 require Training Data Tables 2 and 4 and Table 8C Part III Recent Graduates for NEW applications should be included, if applicable.
    • For RFA-DE-18-012 Table 8C Part III, only data from the past 5 years are to be included. “Table 8C Part III should provide the outcomes of dentist scientists completing programs in the past five years who may or may not have been eligible for appointment to this K12 DSPP program (U.S. citizens or permanent residents and non-citizens).”

Application Information

  • Program Evaluation: Applications should include plans to obtain feedback from current and former scholars to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for program improvements.

Review Criteria

  • Career Development Program and Environment: Is the proposed overall evaluation of the program likely to provide informative metrics and feedback on the institution's DSPP and identify specific strengths and areas to enhance the program?
  • Mentors: To what extent are the mentors currently engaged in dental, oral and craniofacial research?
  • Scholars: Does the program have a rigorous evaluation plan to assess the quality and effectiveness of the proposed K12 career development program and objectives?
Last Reviewed on
February 2018