research funding, and research interdisciplinary activities should be a critical aspect of the initial NRSA application and annual reports.

  • The T32 awards should be allocated only to schools with research-intensive environments, including a cadre of senior investigators with extramurally funded research or research track records and research infrastructures that support research and research training.

  • The application process for T32 positions as predoctoral trainees or postdoctoral fellows should be more formalized, with specific proposals submitted in relationship to their research and the match with faculty at the institution made explicit.

  • Trainees and fellows on a T32 award position should provide evidence of the interdisciplinary strength that is part of their program of study.

  • Criteria for selection of T32 fellows and trainees should be based on a consistent, full-time plan for research training and long-term potential for contribution to science and nursing.

  • The monitoring and tracking of trainees and fellows should be formalized, with changes in research plans or mentor(s) filed as part of the annual report.

A small but growing cadre of nurse-investigators is supported in their research development by K awards. In addition to the awards from NINR, other institutes and centers also support nursing research through the K mechanisms, since elements of nursing research are intrinsic to other fields. These awards are usually awarded to nurse-scientists in their early or midcareer stages when they are shifting the substantive or methodological focus of their research. NINR has primarily used the following four types of career awards: K01, Mentored Research Scientist Development Award; Minority K01, Mentored Research Scientist Development Award for Minority Investigators; K22, Career Transition Award, and K23, Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award; and K24, Mid-Career Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research.18

These awards could be important in advancing both career development and science development. Unfortunately, there is limited information regarding the outcomes of these awards, including successful research grants and publications by awardees.


In summary, three major factors influence the recommendation to change the research training career trajectory pattern for nurse-scientists: the need to enhance the productivity of each investigator’s study for nursing practice and for shaping health policy; increasing the numbers of nurse-investigators to respond to the investigator and faculty shortage; and emphasizing the need for research training within strong research-intensive environments.


Recommendation 6-1: The committee recommends that a new T32 program be established that focuses on rapid progression into research careers. Criteria might include predoctoral trainees who are within 8 years of high school graduation, not requiring a master’s degree before commencing with a Ph.D., and postdoctoral trainees who are within 2 years of their Ph.D.

This new program would produce strong research personnel and lengthen the research careers of the trainees. These grants should be placed in research-intensive universities with strong interdisciplinary opportunities and research funding, including a cadre of well-established senior investigators.


See Appendix B for a complete explanation of awards.

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