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Strategy for NIH Funding
Navigation for the Strategy for NIH Funding. Link to Part 1. Qualify for NIH Funding.Link to Part 2. Pick and Design a Project.Link to Part 3. Write Your Application.Link to Part 4. Submit Your Application.Link to Part 5. Assignment and Review.Link to Part 6. If Not Funded.Link to Part 7. Funding.

Previous page in Strategy.Strategy for Resubmitting   ·   Part 7. FundingNext page in Strategy.

How to Resubmit

Resubmissions have several unique rules. For example, you must address all your reviewers' points and highlight their comments in the introduction and usually in the Research Plan (unless too much has changed).

Though you may be able to start revising before you get your summary statement, you'll need the summary statement for your discussion with your program officer and to address the reviewers' feedback in the application.

Know the steps to take and read our tips for an effective resubmission.

Table of Contents

Just the Facts

(This section has factual information only; for advice on this topic, go to Our Advice below.)

Rules for Resubmitting

Discuss the reviewers' points one by one.

Enhance your application in any way you can—even in areas your reviewers did not question, for example, by adding new data.

Before deciding to resubmit, you may want to assess your options—read What to Do if You Get Bad News and Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in this Part.

When you resubmit, you're playing by new rules.

Rule 1: You have just one opportunity to resubmit.

Rule 2: You must apply within 37 months of the original application's receipt date.

Rule 3: You must create a one-page introduction and a cover letter. See Create a Cover Letter in Part 4.

Rule 4: In your introduction, you must address all your reviewers' issues that are stated in your summary statement. Reviewers will look for their comments and check that you revised accordingly.

You may also enhance the rest of your application by adding any new information and data you wish.

Here's how to proceed:

  • Highlight your reviewers' comments in your introduction and the body of your application, usually in the Research Plan. But if changes are so extensive that most text would be affected, explain them in the introduction only.
  • Make sure your introduction does the following:
    • Summarizes the substantial additions, deletions, and changes to the application.
    • Responds to the issues and criticisms raised in the Summary Statement.
  • Make new text easy to distinguish—use bold, brackets, indents, italics, or some other marker (avoid using color).
  • Include any new preliminary data you have, and strengthen the application where possible—even in areas your reviewers did not question.
  • Download new forms, and scan the funding opportunity announcement to see if anything has changed.

Even if you take all these steps, you have no guarantee of success for several reasons:

  • Reviewers are not wedded to their critiques.
  • New reviewers may disagree with previous comments or raise new criticisms.
  • Because a summary statement is not an exhaustive critique of your proposal, it may not list all concerns reviewers had (plus issues they may have raised had the discussion continued).

That said, many people get funded after revising, and usually a resubmission can't hurt you.

Many resubmissions score better than the initial application, though, of course, there's no guarantee. For example, our data show that in FY 2012, R01 resubmissions were 2.5 times more likely to get a better score than a worse one.

Even if your resubmission scores slightly worse, that probably won't affect the funding chances of an earlier application. If you've submitted two applications, NIAID can still fund the earlier one.

eRA Commons will keep both versions of your application active. You'll see the "MAA" (Multiple Active Application) flag in the Commons. When one application is funded, NIH automatically withdraws the other.

Our Advice

(This section has advice only; you should also read the factual information above at Just the Facts.)

You only have one opportunity to resubmit, so make it your best shot.

Make it very clear where you addressed each point the reviewers made, and add any other enhancements you can make to strengthen the application. For details on how to proceed, read the bullets under the Just the Facts section and in Resubmission Tips below.

Resubmission Timing

If you are on a list for possible selective pay or end-of-year funding, resubmit—don't wait to see what will happen.

You may be able to start revising right away, but take the time to do the best job you can.

Do not resubmit until you can send in the strongest possible application that effectively addresses all the reviewers' comments. Get advice from your program officer and experts in your institution before proceeding and again after you prepare your resubmission.

Some people begin revising even before getting the summary statement because waiting may cause them to miss the next receipt date. (Note that new investigators get summary statements at least a month before their next receipt date, though as of 2010, less than 13 percent were able to apply for that date.) Read more at Initial Peer Review and Your Next Steps in Part 5.

You could start revising before you get your summary statement if you have promising new data or other improvements you want to include.

Then after you get your summary statement, add to the revisions you've already made to address peer reviewer concerns.

We strongly recommend that even if your application scored just above the payline or is on a list for possible selective pay or end-of-year funding, don't wait to see what will happen. Start revising as soon as you can and resubmit when ready, keeping in mind the caveats noted above and in the next section below.

Read more about timing in Timing Factors That Affect Your Application and Award and R01 Planning to Award Timeline by Review Cycle.

When Not to Resubmit Quickly

Sometimes waiting has little impact on the timing of an award.

Don't rush. It's better to wait for the next receipt date than send an application prematurely. And if you need additional preliminary data or new data is imminent, wait until you have it before resubmitting.

Sometimes waiting has little impact on the timing of an award.

  • For Cycle 1 receipt dates (September-October Council), you often have to wait several extra months before you get an award because the Institute does not yet have a budget for the following fiscal year.
  • If you wait to submit for the Cycle 3 receipt dates (May Council) instead, you could lose just a month or two before you actually get an award.

Resubmission Tips

Here are some tips to help you succeed.

Capitalize on your strengths and throw out or revise the parts reviewers felt were weak. Check again that your Specific Aims line up with your hypothesis.

Respond point by point to the reviewers' comments and suggestions, stating how you dealt with all the criticisms in the summary statement. Your program officer may be able to advise you as you consider application changes.

  • Introduction. If possible within your introduction's one-page limit, address comments point by point. Be sure your introduction at least does the following:
    • Summarizes the issues and criticisms and respond in as much detail as possible.
    • Summarizes the substantial additions, deletions, and changes to the application.
  • Research Plan and elsewhere in the body of your application. Update as needed to respond. If you're cramped for space, don't drop important details in favor of making space to address reviewer comments.

Be respectful even if you disagree.

  • If you disagree, explain why, and provide additional information if possible.
  • Even better, change your proposal. For example, if reviewers don't like an approach, propose a different one, even if you don't agree.

Identify changes. To identify substantial scientific changes, do one of the following:

  • Outline them in your introduction. Include a summary of substantial additions, deletions, and changes to the application.
    • If most of the text has changed, go this route rather than the next one.
  • Use arrows, brackets, indents, or a new font.
    • You can use Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, Georgia, or a combination. All fonts used should be black, 11 points or larger.
    • Do not underline, shade changes, or use color.
    • Avoid italicizing large blocks of text—it's hard to read.

Add new findings and your own improvements. You aren't limited to revising only items mentioned in the summary statement.

  • In the Preliminary Studies/Progress Report, add any new findings you've gotten since the previous application.
  • Don't hesitate to make other changes. Strengthen the application as much as you can.

For an example of a resubmission application that scored well, see our Sample Grant Application from Adam Ratner, M.D., M.P.H., of Columbia University.

Strategy for NIH Funding
Navigation for the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Previous page in Strategy.Strategy for Resubmitting   ·   Part 7. FundingNext page in Strategy.

See the other sections of
Part 6. If Not Funded

Table of Contents for the Strategy

We welcome your comments, questions, or suggestions. Email

Last Updated December 08, 2014

Last Reviewed September 30, 2011