Donate   |   Member Portal   |   Sign In   |   Join
Search AAP
RMSTP: Phase I Application
Share |
phase 1 application

Application for Phase I (NIH-funded)

Phase I is the NIH-funded portion of the RMSTP career development program. Eligible resident, fellow, or junior faculty applicants may apply directly to Phase I, but are strongly encouraged to enter the pre-application pathway in advance, since participating in the annual Research Training Workshop will enhance the competitiveness of their application. Applications for Phase I are due August 7th and can be submitted on-line by clicking on the Submit Phase I Application button below. In some years an additional spring competition occurs (check with Mary Czerniak for more information).

New to the program, we are asking applicants to write the grant in an identical format to an independent NIH K award. The major change is that applicants should write for 5 years of funding instead of just 3, as would normally be provided by the RMSTP. The table below provides a summary of the K instructions. However, applicants are encouraged to determine in conjunction with their mentor which agency they would submit an independent K award to and the type of K award and follow those instructions. The usual type for an independent K award would be a K08 However, some applicants may choose a K01 Please also include a 1 page explanation of how your application would change if you are offered just 3 years of funding by the RMSTP. Your application will not be judged on this three year plan; it is just an agreement which we can follow should you be selected for funding.

phase I application

Revision of a Phase I Application (relevant only to applicants submitting a revised application after a previous unsuccessful attempt)

An Introduction must be included that summarizes the substantial additions, deletions and changes to the application. The Introduction must also include a response to the issues and criticism raised by the review. The Introduction may not exceed one page.

The substantial scientific changes must be marked in the text of the application by bracketing, indenting, or changing typography. Do not underline or shade the changes. Deleted sections should be described but not marked as deletions. If the changes are so extensive that essentially all of the text would be marked, explain this in the Introduction.  

Specific Aims
1. Specific Aims – limit to 1 page

Bios – candidate, mentors – no page limit

Candidate Information & Career Development Plan
2. Candidate’s Background
3. Career Goals and Objectives
4. Career Development/Training Activities During Award Period
5. Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Research Plan
6.Research Strategy
7.Budget Justification

Environment and Institutional Commitment to Candidate
8.Description of Institutional Environment
9.Institutional Commitment to Candidate’s Research Career Development

Statements of Support
10.Statements and letters of support by Primary Mentor, Co-Mentors, Consultants, Contributors

11. References (no page limit)

The RMSTP Phase I Application (Career Development Award) should include sufficient information needed for evaluation of the project, independent of any other document (e.g., previous application, appendix). Be specific and informative, and avoid redundancies. Be sure to read all instructions before completing this section since errors could lead to incomplete or rejected applications. 

Use at least one half inch margins (top, bottom, left and right) for all pages.

Use an Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, or Georgia typeface, a black font color and a font size of 11 points or larger. A symbol font may be used to insert Greek letter or special characters; the font size requirement still applies. If using Times Roman, use a font size of no smaller than 12 point.
Type density, including characters and spaces, must be no more than 15 characters per inch.
Type may be no more than six lines per inch.

Page Formatting
Since a number of reviewers will be reviewing applications as an electronic document and not a paper version, applicants are strongly encouraged to use only a standard, single-column format for the text. Avoid using a two-column format since it can cause difficulties when reviewing the document electronically.
Full-sized glossy photographs of material such as electron micrographs or gels must only be included within the page limits of the Career Development Award application. The maximum size of images to be included should be approximately 1200 x 1500 pixels using 256 colors. Figures must be readable as printed on an 8.5 x 11 inch page at normal (100%) scale.
Candidates must use image compression such as JPEG or PNG. Do not include figures or photographs as separate attachments either in the Appendix or elsewhere in the application.

Page Limits
Page limits must be followed. The total number of pages for Items 2 – 6 (Candidate’s Background, Career Goals and Objectives, Career Development/Training Activities During Award Period, Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research) and (Research Strategy) combined may not exceed 12 pages. One additional page is allotted for Item 1, the specific aims. All tables, graphs, figures, diagrams, and charts must be included within the 12-page limit.

Internet website addresses (URLs) may not be used to provide information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites.

Applicants are prohibited from using the Appendix to circumvent page limitations in any section of the application for which a page limit applies.” For additional information regarding Appendix material and page limits, please refer to the NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-10-077,

Notice of Proprietary Information
When information in the application constitutes trade secrets or information that is commercial or financial, or information that is confidential or privileged, it is furnished to the Government in confidence with the understanding that the information shall be used or disclosed only for evaluation of this application. If a grant is awarded as a result of or in connection with the submission of this application, the Government shall have the right to use or disclose the information to the extent authorized by law. This restriction does not limit the Government’s right to use the information if it is obtained without restriction from another source.

Research Plan
The Research Plan is a major component of the research career development plan. It is important to relate the research to the candidate's scientific career goals. Describe how the research, coupled with other developmental activities, will provide the experience, knowledge, and skills necessary to achieve the objectives of the career development plan and launch and conduct an independent research career. Explain the relationship between the candidate’s research on the CDA and the mentor’s ongoing research program.

For most types of research, the plan should include: a specific hypothesis; a list of the specific aims and objectives that will be used to examine the hypothesis; a description of the methods/approaches/ techniques to be used in each aim; a discussion of possible problems and how they will be managed; and, when appropriate, alternative approaches that might be tried if the initial approaches do not work.

The Research Plan of a CDA is expected to be appropriate for, and tailored to the experience level of the candidate, and allow him/her to develop the skills needed for further career advancement; reviewers will evaluate the plan accordingly. The plan should be achievable within the requested time period. Pilot or preliminary studies and routine data gathering are generally not appropriate as the sole component(s) of a CDA research plan. Although candidates for mentored K awards are expected to write the Research Plan, the mentor should review a draft of the plan and discuss it in detail with the candidate. Review by other knowledgeable colleagues is also helpful. Although it is understood that CDA applications do not require the extensive detail usually incorporated into regular research applications, a fundamentally sound Research Plan and a reasonably detailed Approach section should be provided.

In general, less detail will be expected in descriptions of research planned for the future years of the proposed CDA. However, sufficient detail should be provided to enable the peer reviewers to determine that the plans for those years, including the approach to be used, are worthwhile and are likely to enable the candidate to achieve the objectives of the Research Plan.

The Career Development Award Form is comprised of sections for: Candidate Information; Statement of Support (Mentors); Environment & Institutional Commitment to the Candidate; and the Research Plan (including Human Subjects and Other Research Plan Sections).

Begin each text section of the Candidate Information and Research Plan with a section header (e.g., Introduction, Specific Aims, Background & Significance, etc).


The budget includes an annual research stipend of up to $75,000 and fringe benefits (benefit rate of sponsoring institution – capped at $100,000 total). In addition, there is a annual research allotment of $20,000 and $5000 for travel. 

Field Name


Revision of a Phase I Application

An Introduction must be included that summarizes the substantial additions, deletions and changes to the application. The Introduction must also include a response to the issues and criticism raised by the review. The Introduction may not exceed one page.

The substantial scientific changes must be marked in the text of the application by bracketing, indenting, or changing typography. Do not underline or shade the changes. Deleted sections should be described but not marked as deletions. If the changes are so extensive that essentially all of the text would be marked, explain this in the Introduction.

1. Specific Aims

State precisely the goals of the proposed research and summarize the expected outcome(s) including the impact that the results of the proposed research will exert on the research field(s) involved.

List succinctly the specific objectives of the research proposed, e.g., to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology.
Specific Aims are limited to one page which is in addition to the 12 page limit.


Candidate, Mentors (NIH format) – no page limit

Candidate Information

Field Name


2. Candidate’s Background

Use this section to provide any additional information not described in the Biographical Sketch Format Page such as research and/or clinical training experience.
Note that the total number of pages for Items 2-6 combined may not exceed 12 pages.

3. Career Goals and Objectives

Describe your past scientific history, indicating how the award fits into past and future research career development. If there are consistent themes or issues that have guided previous work, these should be made clear; if your work has changed direction, the reasons for the change should be indicated. It is important to justify the award and how it will enable you to develop or expand your research career. You may include a timeline, including plans to apply for subsequent grant support.

4. Career Development/ Training Activities During Award Period

Stress the new enhanced research skills and knowledge you will acquire as a result of the proposed award. If you have considerable research experience in the same areas as the proposed research, reviewers may determine that the application lacks potential to enhance your research career. Describe structured activities, such as course work or technique workshops, which are part of the developmental plan. If course work is included, provide course numbers and descriptive titles. Briefly discuss each of the activities, except research, in which you expect to participate. Include a percentage of time involvement for each activity by year, and explain how the activity is related to the proposed research and the career development plan.

Note that recipients of mentored K awards may receive concurrent support from an NIH research grant award or cooperative agreement only under certain conditions (see NIH Notice NOT-OD-08-065).

5. Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Attach a description of plans for obtaining instruction in the responsible conduct of research. This section should document prior instruction or participation in RCR training during the applicant’s current career stage (including the date instruction was last completed) and propose plans to either receive instruction or participate as a course lecturer, etc., in order to meet the once every four-year requirement. The plan should address how applicants plan to incorporate the five instructional components outlined in the NIH Policy on Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research: format, subject matter, faculty participation, duration, and frequency. The plan may include career stage-appropriate individualized instruction or independent scholarly activities that will enhance the applicant’s understanding of ethical issues related to their specific research activities and the societal impact of that research. The role of the mentor in RCR instruction must be described.

Note that the total number of pages for Items 2-6 combined may not exceed 12 pages.

Research Plan

Field Name


6. Research Strategy

Organize the Research Strategy in the specified order and using the instructions provided below. Start each section with the appropriate section heading – Significance, Innovation, Approach. Cite published experimental details in the Research Strategy section and provide the full reference in the Bibliography and References Cited section.

Note that the total number of pages for Items 2-6 combined may not exceed 12 pages.

  • Significance
  • Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field that the proposed project addresses.
  • Explain how the proposed project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in one or more broad fields.
  • Describe how the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field will be changed if the proposed aims are achieved.
  • Innovation
  • Explain how the application challenges current research or clinical practice paradigms.
  • Describe any novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions to be developed or used, and any advantage over existing methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions.
  • Approach
  • Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Include how the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted as well as any resource sharing plans as appropriate.
  • Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aims.
  • If the project is in the early stages of development, describe any strategy to establish feasibility, and address the management of any high risk aspects of the proposed work.
  • Point out any procedures, situations, or materials that may be hazardous to personnel and precautions to be exercised. A full discussion on the use of Select Agents should appear in Item 18 below.

If an applicant has multiple Specific Aims, then the applicant may address Significance, Innovation and Approach for each Specific Aim individually, or may address Significance, Innovation and Approach for all of the Specific Aims collectively.

As applicable, also include preliminary studies as part of the Research Strategy. Discuss the PD/PI’s preliminary studies, data, and or experience pertinent to this application keeping within the three sections listed above: Significance, Innovation, and Approach.

7. Budget Justification

Candidates should detail how the $10,000 per year will be utilized for each of the three years. If the $10,000 does not cover all expenses, as is frequently the case, the candidate should detail how additional expenses will be covered. If additional support is provided by the mentor, the department and/or another source, this support should be detailed in the letter from the chair and/or mentor.

Environment and Institutional Commitment to the Candidate

Field Name


8. Description of Institutional Environment

The sponsoring institution must document a strong, well-established research program related to the candidate's area of interest, including the names of key faculty members relevant to the candidate's proposed developmental plan. Referring to the resources description, indicate how the necessary facilities and other resources will be made available for career enhancement as well as the research proposed in this application. Describe opportunities for intellectual interactions with other investigators, including courses offered, journal clubs, seminars, and presentations.

9. Institutional Commitment to Candidate’s Research Career Development

The institution (Department Chair) should provide a document on institutional letterhead that describes its commitment to the candidate and the candidate’s career development, independent of the receipt of the CDA. The document should include the institution’s agreement to provide adequate time and support for the candidate to devote the proposed protected time to research and career development for the entire period of the proposed award. The institution should provide the equipment, facilities, and resources necessary for a structured research career development experience. It is essential to document the institution's commitment to the retention, development and advancement of the candidate during the period of the award.

The department chair must:

a. Agree to release the candidate from other duties and activities to devote the required percentage of time for development of a research career. A commitment of at least 75 percent of time is required. Describe actions that will be taken to ensure this; e.g., reduction of the candidate's teaching load, committee and administrative assignments, and clinical or other professional activities for the current academic year. (For example, describe the actions that will be taken to compensate for the reduction in clinic responsibilities of the candidate, e.g., hiring of additional staff). Describe the candidate's academic appointment, bearing in mind that it must be full-time, and that the appointment (including all rights and privileges pertaining to full faculty status if in an academic setting) and the continuation of salary should not be contingent upon the receipt of this award. For current attendings, describe the proportion of time currently available for the candidate's research experience and what the candidate's institutional responsibilities will be if an award is made.
b. Provide the candidate with appropriate office and laboratory space, equipment, and other resources and facilities (including access to clinical and/or other research populations) to carry out the proposed Research Plan.
c. Provide appropriate time and support for any proposed mentor(s) and/or other staff consistent with the career development plan.

The sponsoring institution, through the submission of the application and in the institutional commitment section, certifies that all items outlined above will be provided and that the institution will abide by the applicable assurances and PHS policies. See: NOT-OD-06-054.

Statement of Support

Field Name


10. Statements by Mentor, Co-mentor(s), Consultants, Contributors

This section is to be completed by the mentor, co-mentor(s), consultant(s), and contributor(s), as appropriate.

The mentor(s) must explain how they will contribute to the development of the candidate's research career. This statement should include all of the following:

1. The plan for the candidate's training and research career development. This description must include not only research, but also other developmental activities, such as seminars, scientific meetings, training in the responsible conduct of research, and presentations. It should discuss expectations for publications over the entire period of the proposed project and define what aspects of the proposed research project the candidate will be allowed to take with him/her to start their own research program.
2. The source of anticipated support for the candidate’s research project for each year of the award period.
3. The nature and extent of supervision and mentoring of the candidate, and commitment to the candidate's development that will occur during the award period.
4. The candidate's anticipated teaching load for the period of the award (number and types of courses or seminars), clinical responsibilities, committee and administrative assignments, and the portion of time available for research.
5. The mentor should describe previous experience as a mentor, including type of mentoring (e.g., graduate students, career development awardees, postdoctoral students), number of persons mentored, and career outcomes.

All applications should identify all co-mentors, consultants and collaborators involved with the proposed research and career development program. Briefly describe their roles and anticipated contributions. A co-mentor must specifically address the nature of his/her role in the career development plan and how the responsibility for the candidate’s development is shared with the mentor. Describe respective areas of expertise and how they will be combined to enhance the candidate’s development. Also describe the nature of any resources that will be committed to this CDA. Letters from the mentor(s), co-mentor(s), consultant(s), advisory committee members (if applicable), and contributor(s) documenting their role and willingness to participate in the project must be included in this section of the application. Do not place these letters in the Appendix.

Become Tomorrow's Rehabilitation Researcher!
Join the Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program

Many entry level academic faculty are seeking ways to enhance their research career development, and it is difficult for department chairs to support protected research time in the absence of extramural funding. The Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program (RMSTP), funded by a K12 grant from the NIH, can be an important resource in faculty development.

In the past, the RMSTP has targeted its recruitment primarily to residents, to give sufficient planning time to enter a productive fellowship immediately after residency. However, physiatrists are eligible to apply for RMSTP funding up to 5 years after completing their residency or clinical fellowship. Thus, junior faculty within this time frame can be funded by the RMSTP to enhance their research training under the guidance of a productive mentor.

AAP's Mission

Creating the future of academic physiatry through mentorship, leadership, and discovery.

Contact Us

Association of Academic Physiatrists
10461 Mill Run Circle, Suite 730
Owings Mills, MD 21117
P. 410.654.1000 F. 410.654.1001

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal