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Career Staff Scientist (CSS)

Title: Career Staff Scientist Supplement
Title Code: CSS

Purpose: This supplement is designed to pilot a new career option to retain highly skilled scientific talent in the NIDCD extramural community. The supplement establishes funding support for Career Staff Scientists (CSS) performing research in the NIDCD mission areas. The CSS should be capable of independently designing experiments, implementing technical expertise or new approach capabilities to a research team, but is not required to independently secure grant  funding. The CSS might also independently manage a substantial core facility, e.g., a sequencing or NMR facility, which provides central support for more than one principal investigator, or might be involved in clinical research functions.

Considerable federal dollars have been spent training doctoral level scientists for careers in research. A large number of these individuals are channeled to aspire to research careers as tenure-track faculty members in research-intensive academic institutions. The current academic model for such research relies principally on investigator-initiated grant support to fund their positions. This model makes at least two assumptions: 1) that there are sufficient academic faculty slots available, and 2) that every highly trained individual will secure NIH funds to launch and sustain an independent research career. While the government invests substantial dollars to train this cadre of scientists with highly technical and diverse skills, these two assumptions are no longer valid. When the goals of the academic tenure-track model are not chosen as a career, we are at risk of losing the knowledge and experience of this highly trained group of scientists.

Supplement-Specific Information:
Eligibility Requirements for the CSS Candidate and Institution: The CSS candidate must have a doctoral-equivalent degree and a minimum of five years post-doctoral experience in basic and/or clinical research. The clinician licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. is not eligible for this program. These positions cannot be used for post-doctoral training. Re-entry into a scientific career is acceptable in cases where the candidate has become unemployed due to loss of salary support.

The CSS must be employed at a U.S. institution or company, and must be a U.S. citizen. The candidate is required to devote full-time (100%) commitment of effort to the proposed research.

The candidate should not be fully supported by NIDCD R01s or other federal granting mechanisms, but may have a variable percentage of grant support combined with other salary funds. The supplement dollars might be allowable to offset other non-granting sources of salary support. The candidate cannot be 100% supported by an NIDCD grant; the supplement is not intended to replace dedicated grant funds. Projects in their final year or first no-cost extension may request supplements for the time remaining of the parent grant award, and one additional year. However, the additional year is contingent upon approval of a no-cost extension. The CSS candidate may also have applied for or been awarded NIH grants; this is not a determining factor in the CSS supplement award process.

This CSS administrative supplement may be requested by Principal Investigators (PIs) and Program Directors (PDs) holding active NIDCD R01s and P series grants. The PI must be at the same institution as the CSS candidate.

Award Information: The NIDCD direct cost cap mentioned in the NIDCD supplement guidelines do not apply to this supplement. The award dollars must be used only for the complete support of the CSS candidate and used with the following guidelines: Up to $95,000/year salary, corresponding fringe benefits at the institutional fringe benefits rate, and $30,000 research related costs/year. Facilities and administrative costs will be provided at the institution’s negotiated rate. No supplement funds may be used to support the salaries, supplies, or travel of the PI, co-PI, or any other personnel.

Application Instructions:The CSS supplemental application, maximum 5 pages (does not include biosketches, letters of support, or administrative pages), MUST include the following:

  1. A completed face page, including appropriate signatures, using Grant Application Form PHS 398. Include the title and grant number of the parent grant on line 1 and include “CSS Supplement” on line 2.
  2. A current NIH biosketch and any grant application history of the CSS must be provided.
  3. A narrative, up to two pages, prepared by the principal investigator of the parent grant to include a detailed description of proposed work to be performed by CSS candidate and how this will enhance or fulfill the scope of the parent grant. The proposed project must be within the scope of the parent grant.
  4. A narrative, up to three pages, prepared by the CSS candidate that includes the need and the potential impact of the supplement on their long term career goals. Must include history of career path to date and the impact of the supplement award on future career plans.
  5. Two letters of support, e.g., from collaborators or mentors, indicating their knowledge of the CSS candidate, caliber of the CSS candidate, and their assessment of how the CSS track is an appropriate choice for the candidate.
  6. An itemized proposed budget entered on the budget pages from Grant Application Form PHS398. Budget must be itemized as previously indicated with travel, material and supplies, and salary/fringe/F&A.
  7. Letters of collaboration from outside investigators if resources are required in the proposed work.

Supplement Contact and Email:
Nancy L. Freeman, Ph.D., (freemann@mail.nih.gov): Basic Research CSS candidates
Bracie Watson, Jr., Ph.D., (watsonb@mail.nih.gov): Clinical Research CSS candidates