Research and Funding

Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology

Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Centers (OAICS)

The Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Centers (OAIC) program was established in honor of the late Representative to establish centers of excellence in research and research career development that will increase scientific knowledge leading to better ways to maintain or restore independence in older persons. A listing of the currently active OAICs, their achievements, and other pertinent information can be found on the National Pepper Center Website.


RFA-AG-15-003: Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers and Coordinating Center (P30) (Receipt Date: June 24, 2014)

Recommended Format Pages for OAIC RFA

Research Core Distribution to Research Projects

Frequently Asked Questions about the OAIC RFA

New FAQ’s may be added to this site periodically.

A previous FAQ asked about ordering the components of the application. ASSIST does not allow us to do this manually. Please clarify what we should do. (6/17/2014)

Apparently ASSIST does not permit user-defined ordering of components for this RFA. Allow ASSIST to order the application components itself.

I do not see a specific section for Targeted/Planned Enrollment Tables. Where should those be included? (6/16/2014)

Targeted/Planned Enrollment Tables can be included in the Protection of Human Subjects section.

In a previous FAQ, you mentioned that an RC could be proposed to complement the RCDC in order to support career development candidates under different terms than that of KL2 scholars; however, the RFA mentions that an RC may not be proposed unless it will support at least two projects (Developmental or External Projects) and a maximum of two Developmental Projects. How should we approach a proposed complementary career development RC in light of these requirements? (6/6/2014)

As described in the FAQ dated 4/25/2014, it is possible to propose an optional RC that provides salary support to a junior investigator working on a research project and accessing career development activities from the RCDC or other institutional sources. In this case, the junior investigator’s research project would be considered a developmental or external project.

Should biographical sketches be provided for career development candidates and pilot/exploratory study awardees? (6/6/2014)

Yes, it is expected that biographical sketches will be provided for RCDC scholars, other career development candidates, and pilot/exploratory study awardees identified in the application. These individuals should be considered as senior/key personnel within their respective core.

Is there any flexibility in the minimum effort required for RCDC (KL2) scholars? (5/9/2014)

The minimum effort for RCDC (KL2) activities may be reduced to 50% for surgeons or other specialists who must devote substantial time to operating or other patient care responsibilities in order to maintain their clinical certification. Adequate justification must be provided in the application. At this time, other exceptions are not recognized.

There are some sections of the application that do not have page limits. Can I include information that does not fit elsewhere in these sections? (5/9/2014)

No. According to NOT-OD-11-080 and its related Notices, information should not be included in appendices or sections lacking page limits as a way of circumventing page limits of other sections of the application. NIH may withdraw applications in egregious cases.

Can I include internet addresses in my application? (5/9/2014)

As indicated in NOT-OD-00-004, internet addresses or URLs should not be included in the application to convey information necessary for review.

Which data tables should be included in the RCDC (KL2) section of the application? (4/25/2014)

The supplemental instructions for preparing an institutional Kirchstein NRSA application in the SF424 Application Guide direct applicants to complete a variety of data tables. Many of these tables are relevant to stand-alone institutional training awards, but are less relevant to the Pepper Center RCDC.  As such, applicants should complete only the following four data tables:

  • Table 2: Participating Faculty Members
  • Table 4: Grant and Contract Support of the Participating Faculty Members
  • Table 5B: Postdoctoral Trainees of Participating Faculty Members*
  • Table 6B: Publications of Research Completed by Postdoctoral Trainees (New or Resubmission Applications)*

*For Tables 5B and 6B, renewing OAICs should indicate which trainees are RCDC scholars.

In past years, RCDC scholars could be supported for varying durations, levels of professional effort, or intensity of career development. What flexibility is there with the current KL2 system? (4/25/2014)

Applicants may want to provide support to junior investigators for time, effort, and/or career development activities that differ from those expected of KL2 scholars. One way in which an OAIC may offer such varying levels of support, though not necessarily the only way, is by proposing an optional Resource Core for this purpose. For example, the Resource Core may provide salary support to a junior investigator for work on a research project related to the OAIC’s mission while the investigator accesses mentoring and other career development activities provided by the OAIC and/or other institutional sources. For purposes of F&A rate, the junior investigator in this case would be considered a research awardee, rather than an official trainee, so the institution’s research F&A rate would apply to this optional core rather than the training F&A rate.

A junior investigator has obtained funding from a private foundation that will partially support salary and research project costs. Can this support count towards the minimal professional effort requirement for KL2 scholars? (4/25/2014)

Most likely yes. Per standard NIH policy, non-Federal funds can be used to supplement a KL2 scholar’s salary consistent with the institution’s salary scale. These funds may count towards the minimum professional effort requirement for KL2 candidacy.

If I am submitting a competing renewal application, how should I handle the progress report for the RCDC (KL2) component in ASSIST? (4/25/2014)

As noted in the RFA, progress report information should be included in the Program Plan, specifically in the “A. Program Administration” section. New applicants may use this section to describe current career development opportunities or other preparatory activities for an RCDC. Although ASSIST provides a space to upload a separate progress report for renewal applications (attachment 6 in the Research Training Program Plan), this space should be left blank. RFA instructions generally supersede standard NIH instructions where differences exist.

How will appointment on a KL2 affect eligibility for future NIH mentored career development awards? (4/25/2014)

KL2 scholars are eligible to apply for individual mentored career development awards (e.g., K01, K08, K23, K25). Total mentored career development time, which is time spent on both institutional (e.g., KL2, K12) and individual mentored K awards, can last up to 5 years without justification. Mentored career development support beyond 5 years is permissible provided there is an acceptable justification in the peer-reviewed mentored K application.

How should application components be ordered in ASSIST? (4/25/2014)

Please order the components as follows: Overall, LAC, RCDC (KL2), RCs, PESC, and IDC. ***See updated response to this FAQ on 6/17/2014***

What are the salary and professional effort guidelines for RCDC (KL2) candidates? (4/7/2014)

Base salary need not be limited to $75,000/year but must be justified. Generally, candidates must devote at least 75% of their full-time professional effort to research and career development activities under the RCDC, with the balance of effort devoted to other research, clinical, or teaching activities consistent with the proposed goals of the RCDC program. For surgeons who must devote a minimum amount of time to maintain their surgical credentials, the minimum effort for research and career development activities through the RCDC may decrease to no less than 50% of full-time professional effort. Adequate justification for reduced effort and a description of non-KL2 activities should be provided in the application.

Can an institution submit more than one OAIC application? (3/30/2012)

As corrected in NOT-AG-12-006, an applicant institution may submit only one OAIC application.

Can a Coordinating Center support travel expenses for OAIC trainees attending the annual OAIC investigators meeting? (3/30/2012)

Yes. One of the expected functions of a Coordinating Center is to organize and conduct an OAIC trainee conference in conjunction with the annual investigators meeting. Travel support for OAIC trainees to attend this conference is an acceptable Coordinating Center expense; however, travel support for OAIC Directors and other members of their leadership team to attend the annual OAIC investigators meeting is the responsibility of each OAIC Leadership and Administrative Core (LAC).

How has RFA-AG-15-003 changed compared to the previous RFA?

While the scope of the OAIC program remains unchanged, there are several differences in RFA-AG-15-003:

a. The OAIC RFA now uses an electronic submission format known as ASSIST. Many of the specifically formatted pages, such as title pages, budget tables, and personnel summaries, are now generated automatically. In addition, the order of sections is compiled automatically.

b. The RCDC component is now awarded as a linked KL2 award. As a result, the standard NIH policies for K awards now apply to the RCDC, including eligibility criteria of RCDC candidates, training requirements, and F&A costs (8% of eligible direct costs). In addition, RCDC funds can be used to support research projects conducted by RCDC scholars. It is expected, however, that RCDC scholars who receive RCDC funding for their research projects will not receive funds from other OAIC Cores (e.g., PESC, RC Developmental Projects) to conduct research.

c. A cap has been placed on the number of Resource Cores (RCs) an OAIC may support. Applicants may propose up to 4 RCs.

How should Pilot/Exploratory Studies (PESs) be presented within the page limits of the PESC section?

Applicants are encouraged to keep descriptions of first-year proposed PESs brief and limited to only the most consequential information. Applicants are encouraged to make maximum use of space within the PESC section, as well as other areas of the application, to convey relevant information about proposed PESs, provided that the information is appropriate for inclusion in such areas. Applications that do not adhere to the page and content limits of individual sections may be returned.

What is the budget limit for Resource Cores?

There is no budget limit for Resource Cores themselves. Resource Cores can request as much as is available after budgeting for all other OAIC components. There are budget limits on Developmental Projects, however; they must range between $35,000 and $70,000 in first-year direct costs.

For renewing applications, if an awardee of a Pilot/Exploratory Study or RCDC performed a secondary analysis using human subjects data, should the subjects be reported in the Inclusion Enrollment Report?

No. Subjects should be reported in the Inclusion Enrollment Report only if there is new contact with the subjects.

Should Inclusion Enrollment Reports be provided for RC-associated External Projects?

No. Only human subjects enrolled as part of an OAIC-supported project should be reported.

Can renewing OAICs use extra pages for their progress reports?

No. Competitive renewal applications must fit their progress reports within the Research Strategy page limits for each component. Applications that include progress report information in other sections may be sent back.

Can an institution submit more than one OAIC application?

No. An applicant institution may submit only one OAIC application.