Frequently Asked Questions


  • Are we expected to satisfy all course requirements during the year-long training grant appointment?
    Yes, all courses must be taken for a grade during the appointment, unless credit is received for courses previously taken at UVA.
  • How do I opt out of the computational foundations course or other course requirements?
    Please submit a formal petition to Margo, addressed to Jason - which will be circulated to Jason and the executive committee for approval. State which courses you’ve completed or what experience you have that would substitute for that class.
  • Can the online CITI course substitute for BIMS 7100, Responsible Conduct of Research?


  • What are the dates of the appointment?
    The dates of the appointment are from July 1 through the following June 30.
  • How much is the stipend?
    The stipend amount that can be charged to the training grant is mandated by NIH. This year’s cohort award is $23,844. Your department may provide supplementary support.
  • Is there a travel allowance?
    Yes, each trainee is allocated $1500/ year which includes support to attend the annual Big Data to Knowledge conference organized by the NIH as well as a second conference of their choice, within budget. Details on how to make the travel arrangements will be emailed in the fall.
  • How much tuition is covered?
    The maximum tuition that can be charged to the training grant is $16,000 per year, which is mandated by NIH. The appointment period includes one academic year (fall and spring) plus one summer.
  • How is the funding set up so trainee stipends and tuition are paid?
    An account number called a “PTAO” has been set up for the charges. The Biomedical Engineering Dept. has a grad program coordinator (Hannah Moore) who processes the funding information for the trainees and submits the required forms to the School of Medicine Graduate Programs Office.
  • Are there any other funds?
    The grant includes funds for “training related expenses” such as health insurance, symposium costs, and other expenses approved by the executive committee.
  • Are computing resources provided to BDS Trainees?
    Pam Norris (Executive Associate Dean in SEAS) has approved an allocation of computing resources on Rivanna (UVa’s high performance computing cluster) to each of the students appointed to our NIH training grant. Each trainee has been given 5000 SUs under the group “BDS_TG”. Individual labs may have additional resources on Rivanna; these 5000 SUs are in addition to that. For more information on how to use these resources see


  • How do I choose a co-mentor?
    The co-mentor does not need to be one of the faculty currently on the training grant but should be an active researcher with recent publications. You should select a faculty member who will serve as a “host” lab for the mandatory cross-training experience, advise and serve on your PhD committee, and offer complementary expertise to that of your own background and to that of your advisor’s expertise. Consider choosing a co-mentor who is either the primary or secondary data provider for your research. The co-mentor lab experience can either be “on-going” or a specific assignment “between labs.” It should allow you to experience a different lab culture and advisor style. You don’t need to have the project precisely defined when you select your co-mentor, but you should agree on a rough timeline for your training period.
  • Is there any documentation required for the co-mentor lab experience?
    Yes. Please submit a brief (< 1 page) writeup of the training experience.
  • What topics are covered in the Collaborative Lunch discussions?
    The topics will vary from scientific to professional development. Past reading assignments are included on the Resources tab. Guest speakers are also occasionally invited to present relevant topics.
  • What are other key activities?
    The Collaborative Visualization workshop and Jamboree/hackathon are two key events to provide hands-on practice.
  • Are there journal clubs that the trainees can join?
    There are several journal clubs of interest to biomedical data science. For example, the “Cancer Research Journal Club” meets twice per month to discuss publications that cover all aspects of cancer research from basic scientific to clinical. It is organized and directed by Dr. Purow ( and Dr. Roger Abounader ( and sponsored by the UVA Cancer Center. The “Systems Biology Journal Club” meets every other week to discuss relevant literature in systems biology that focuses on research areas that span multiple labs here at UVA. The journal club is current organized by a PhD student Bonnie Dougherty ( There are several other journal clubs across Grounds that should be of interest.


  • How is NIH notified of trainee appointments?
    Each trainee is appointed in xTrain, the NIH electronic Research Administration training grant system. If you don’t already have a Commons ID, you will be assigned one in order to log in and accept your appointment. The appointment is routed to Jason Papin and then submitted to NIH electronically for processing.
  • How is the appointment terminated?
    The Termination Notices are processed via xTrain. When the termination is initiated, you are required to provide a summary of the training, career development, or research education received and the research undertaken during fellowship or appointment period, and describe how it furthered your career. List publications, if any, resulting from the research during this period. List grants and career awards pending and received. If a fellowship or appointment is being terminated early, indicate the reason. The notices are routed to Jason Papin and then to Lauren Armstrong in the SOM Grants Office, who then submits to NIH as the Business Official.
  • What are the NIH grant number, title, and PI?
    T32LM012416. “Transdisciplinary Big Data Science Training at UVa.” Donald Brown, PhD; Thomas Loughran, MD; Jason Papin (contact), PhD; and Kevin Skadron, PhD.
  • What is the NIH Public Access Policy for publications?
    The policy requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central ( Any publications that result from this award must cite this grant: T32LM012416 (MPI: Papin, Brown, Loughran, Skadron). Specific instructions for NCBI: login and select “My Bibliography”. Under each publication “Add award.” This is required for all NIH grants, and is important for future progress reports and grant renewals.
  • What is the NIH requirement for Progress Reports?
    The PI of the grant is required to submit an annual progress report to NIH by Feb.1 each year. In mid-January, all trainees will be asked to provide inputs describing activities and progress during the reporting period, including coursework, conference presentations, a description of the trainee's role in any planned or published papers resulting from research conducted while supported by this award (e.g., designed or conducted experiment, analyzed data, drafted paper), fellowships or other support, workshops attended, career development activities.
  • How is the NIH requirement for IDPs met?
    In line with NIH guidelines, the University of Virginia School of Medicine requires all BIMS students and all predoc students on NIH training grants to complete Annual Individual Development Plans (IDPs) and submit a copy to the training grant administrator by Oct. 31 each year.


  • How do I get access to Biomedical Engineering facilities, if I’m not a BME student?
    All members of the UVA community can now use their University ID to enter MR4, MR5, and Pinn Hall. You can enter MR4 main doors (Lane Road), MR5 Ground floor (Lane Road), MR5 first floor (covered walkway) and Pinn Hall main doors (Jefferson Park Avenue). You cannot enter the BME lab hallways - research collaborators who need access must still get the Health System ID (POC: Keisha Jones-Tibbs in the BME Admin Office, MR5 Rm. 2010). What if I swipe and it doesn’t work? Make sure you have a newer style “smartcard.” All smartcards have printing below the magnetic stripe, with an aptiQ logo on the left and a series of numbers on the right. If there is no aptiQ logo, go to the ID Office in O-Hill Dining during normal business hours to receive a free replacement ID.