PDHP New Investigator Mentoring Program


2021 Call for Applications


The University of Michigan’s Population Dynamics and Health Program (PDHP), part of the Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research, is pleased to accept applications for its 2021 New Investigator Mentoring Program, which is designed to offer significant support to 2–4 new investigators each year while they prepare a research proposal for NIH (ideally targeting NICHD’s Population Dynamics Branch, sponsor of the PDHP). We define “new investigators” as those who have who have not previously been principal investigators of an NIH R01 grant mechanism and will prioritize investigators who meet the definition of “Early Stage Investigators” in the NIH policy on “Next Generation Investigators” (NOT-OD-17-101), including those who have received their degree or finished postgraduate clinical training within the past 10 years.

The PDHP New Investigator Mentoring Program (NIMP) assigns each new investigator to a senior mentor who has a track record of successful NIH support. The NIMP provides salary support to the new investigator for a full month and to the senior faculty mentor for an overlapping week. The new investigator and senior mentor will work together during an agreed upon four-week intensive mentoring period with the expectation that the new investigator will be prepared to submit a research proposal to NIH within the next 12 months. The senior faculty member may serve as a co-Investigator on the research proposal being developed or may serve as an engaged advisor without being a collaborator on the proposed research. In addition to the salary support, the NIMP also provides other resources to support proposal development.


Applicants must be new investigators to NIH and PI-eligible researchers at the University of Michigan (as defined by the University’s Office of Research and Sponsored Projects). Mentees can only receive this award once, but unsuccessful applicants can reapply in subsequent years.

The applicant must agree to submit a competitive extramural research grant application to NIH (R-series) within 12 months of the intensive mentoring period (ideally targeting NICHD’s Population Dynamics Branch, sponsor of the PDHP).

Resources Provided by the Program

  • Salary support: The new investigator will receive one month of salary support to prepare the NIH proposal, while the senior faculty mentor will receive one week of effort to compensate for advising time.
  • Outside consultant: If the proposal requires expertise not available at the University of Michigan, the new investigator will be provided with support for engaging a consultant from another institution.
  • Seed funding: If additional research is necessary to increase the chances of writing a successful NIH proposal, the new investigator will be given priority status for a pilot research small grant.
  • Methodological Support: PDHP includes a Scientific and Technical Core that can provide methodological support to mentees as needed.
  • Administrative support: PDHP staff and PSC administrative services will support the new investigator in preparing a budget, generating a Project Action Form (PAF), and submitting the NIH proposal.

Terms of Support

  • New investigators must agree to submit a competitive NIH extramural grant application for an R-series research project within 12 months of the intensive mentoring period (ideally targeting NICHD’s Population Dynamics Branch, sponsor of the PDHP).
  • New investigators must also agree that if their NIH proposal is declined, they will submit a revised proposal within 12 months of the initial review.
  • The experienced faculty mentor is responsible for ensuring that the new investigator works steadily towards submission of a competitive grant application during the year of the intensive mentoring period and should take the necessary steps to assist with this goal. The faculty mentor must commit to working with the new investigator intensively during a mutually selected four week mentoring period and in an ongoing way until the application for funding is submitted to NIH. The mentor must schedule time to review drafts of the new investigator’s research proposal and provide constructive feedback and additional guidance on long-term career goals.
  • The new investigator must complete a final progress report for NIMP by April 1, 2022. The report should provide a clear picture of progress made and should include the frequency of meetings, general areas of discussion, funding opportunities reviewed, the type and frequency of feedback received, proposal review and critique, etc.

Application and Submission

Applications for the 2021 New Investigator Mentoring Program are completed by the new investigator and submitted electronically. A complete application includes the following components:

  1. New Investigator Research Mentoring Program Application Form
  2. A 2-3 page description. The description should begin with a short (<1 page) summary of the research project, including a list of the aims, the significance of the topic and the project, and the planned approach. The description should also address: (a) why your research is a good match with the NICHD’s Population Dynamics Branch priorities; (b) plan for a meaningful mentoring relationship and justification of any proposed mentor; (c) a written commitment to submitting a competitive proposal to NIH and resubmitting if declined (where a failure to resubmit may affect future opportunities for small grant funding and/or technical support); (d) a justification for how the proposed work links to one or more of the PDHP’s three thematic areas [(1) Family and intergenerational influences on health and wellbeing; (2) Reproductive health, fertility, and romantic relationships; and (3) Population health, life course, and biosocial processes]; and (e) any additional information you would like the selection committee to know.
    (Format: 11 pt. or 12 pt. Times New Roman or Arial font; margins of at least ½ inch)
  3. Project Timeline for the mentoring period of the NIMP.
  4. Mentee curriculum vitae.
  5. The mentee is invited to nominate potential candidates for the senior faculty mentor role. If a mentor is nominated, include the proposed mentor curriculum vitae. Include grants awarded to the proposed senior mentor (as PI) that demonstrate experience with the funding agency to which the mentee will apply.

Submit the application using the link below by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27, 2021.

Review and Evaluation Process

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Research Focus: Does the mentee have a research focus that can be translated into an NIH proposal submission, ideally to the NICHD’s Population Dynamics Branch?
  • Benefits: Does the application articulate the benefit and value of the intensive mentoring at this stage in the new investigator’s career?
  • Commitment: Does the application show the mentee is willing to dedicate time and effort to the process and has a high likelihood of submitting a competitive grant application? Does the mentee convey willingness to commit the time and effort to get the most benefit from the intensive mentoring relationship?

For questions about the NIMP please write to pdhp-info@umich.edu.