See the Glossary for more terms.
Breaking news: we just heard that the Office of Management and Budget has delayed the first deadline for NIH grantees to report their use of ARRA funds.
Instead of July 10, the quarterly reports are now due on October 10, 2009, reflecting spending through the end of September. Expect more guidance on reporting from NIH soon.
On June 10, 2009, NIAID held the second of its two annual planning and policy retreats, the Summer Policy Retreat. Here are some highlights.
Barring a shot of new funding, several factors are converging to push NIH paylines to unprecedented lows.
While a lot can happen from now until we see next fiscal year's budget, some dark clouds on the horizon could mean rough seas for scientists in FY 2010.
Barring a shot of new funding, several factors are converging to push NIH paylines to unprecedented lows. For one thing, we expect government deficits to dampen prospects for significant increases in the NIH budget.
On top of that, competition for NIH funds will be fiercer, with more applications and investigators going after a stagnant pool of dollars. Starting in FY 2010, we expect thousands of unfunded Challenge Grant applications to flood the system as new R01s and R21s, driving down success rates. And more new and existing investigators will be recompeting when their funded four-year—and two-year ARRA—grants expire.
Another uncertainty is the impact of the new peer review system on scores. Though NIH will develop guidance for peer reviewers, we don't know how applications will fare under the new scoring scheme compared to the old one. We can't predict reviewer behavior as much as we may try to shape it to meet the goals of peer review.
An even greater unknown will arrive starting with the January 25 receipt date (May for AIDS applications) when shorter research plans will force investigators to leave out or summarize much of the detail they had been including.
The cumulative result of these factors: even funded investigators should expect an annual loss of buying power since budget increases are unlikely to keep up with inflation.
Here's our advice for dealing with this exacting forecast:
Executives and managers heard an array of presentations, including several from the Office of Science Management and Operations on increasing Institute effectiveness and heightening efficiency by reducing administrative costs.
A focus on NIAID's ongoing collaboration with the Department of Defense looked at our partnership with DoD, including the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program and National Interagency Biodefense Campus.
Reviewers are emphasizing overall impact, so be sure to take the new focus into account when you write your applications.
NIH's entree into the new peer review practices is going full steam ahead.
Under the new system, NIH is more strongly emphasizing an application's overall impact, as reflected by its changing the term "priority score" to "overall impact score."
And while only a few reviewers have used the new scoring scheme, so far, they've adjusted well, at least in our experience at NIAID. In their first meetings, reviewers used the full range of scores and edited scores and critiques after the meeting if their opinions changed.
How reviewers react to the new approaches can affect review outcomes, so be sure to take the new focus and practices into account when you write your applications.
As we told you above in Paylines and Progress Take Center Stage at Executive Retreat, we still do not know how the upcoming shorter research plans will affect reviewer behavior. But we will advise you as best we can and keep you posted when news comes in.
For more information on the NIH peer review changes read our articles "Inside the New Peer Review," "Watch a Video on Enhancing Peer Review," and "Learn More About Peer Review" as well as the Extramural Nexus article "Need Help Interpreting the New Review Scores?"
From now on NIAID's Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases will solicit collaborative research partnerships using research project grants, such as R01 and Small Business Innovation Research awards, instead of cooperative agreements.
For your next grant, you will submit applications electronically.
This change applies to many areas of research, including biodefense and some clinical projects. It's good news for small businesses, which will now compete against other small businesses, not larger companies.
The new change does not affect the scientific and technical aspects of the research, just the following administrative processes:
While cooperative agreements enable our staff to be substantially involved in the research, we now feel that much of the research community is experienced enough to make that measure unnecessary. Of course, we may still have exceptions.
Go to two of our new RFAs: Partnerships for Biodefense Food- and Water-borne Diseases (R01) and Partnerships for Biodefense Viral Pathogens (R01). Check back soon for two more.
For more information, see the April 24, 2009, Guide notice. If you have scientific or technical questions about this topic, contact Dr. Michael Schaefer at 301-451-3758 or email@example.com; for general questions, contact Dr. Anna Ramsey-Ewing at 301-435-8536 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a bar to award and haven't submitted documentation to get your bar lifted, contact your program officer now.
Our program officers work with NIH's Office of Extramural Research to get your bar lifted before the end of the fiscal year, but we need your paperwork immediately if we don't already have it.
You should always try to resolve bars to award as quickly as possible, but in most years you could wait as late as August and still have a chance to get your bar lifted.
This year, it's a different story. The large number of ARRA applications has stretched NIH to the limit, and it just cannot respond as quickly as usual.
For applications with a bar, this creates a race against time—and that race is coming down to the wire.
Don't wait. If we can't get your bar lifted, you run the risk of getting a restricted award that prevents you from spending until you can resolve study section concerns about your application.
Even if you have all your paperwork submitted before the end of the fiscal year, it could take several months for NIH to review the documents—possibly leaving you unable to spend money until December or later. Your program officer or grants management specialist can tell you more about this possibility.
For ARRA grants, we aren't making restricted awards under any circumstances—for either FY 2009 or FY 2010. If you can't get your bar lifted, we won't fund your application.
If you haven't tended to this matter yet, do it now. Read our Bars to Grant Awards SOPs to find out what you need to do and learn more at Know What a Summary Statement Means in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
LRPs can repay up to $35,000 of your educational debt each year.
As we've told you before, NIH's Loan Repayment Programs can repay up to $35,000 of your educational debt each year if you're an eligible doctoral-level researcher.
NIAID supports both the Clinical Research LRP and the Pediatric Research LRP. NIH just renewed those programs in these notices:
Read Loan Repayment Programs and NIH's Loan Repayment Programs Extramural Programs for more information. We last told you about LRP in the August 7, 2008, article "Get Your Education Loans Off Your Back."
If you have experience in basic immunology and the HIV-1 virus, consider being part of a multidisciplinary effort, the B-Cell Immunology Partnership Program For HIV-1 Vaccine Discovery.
Published on June 16, 2009, a new RFA solicits applications in two areas: 1) identifying new HIV-1 envelope immunogens and immunization strategies to induce broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies and 2) using basic B-cell immunology research to study how the induction and regulation of immune responses leads to an HIV-1 broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibody response.
This multiproject cooperative agreement program will support a partnership to communicate ideas and progress among PIs awarded from this announcement and PIs with existing awards in the program.
For the new RFA, you can request up to $1 million in direct costs in any year. NIAID anticipates using $3 million in annual total costs to make two or three new awards.
To apply, send an optional letter of intent by November 4, 2009, and submit your application by December 4, 2009.
It can't happen without you! To keep the biomedical science enterprise in gear, NIH depends on the generosity of dedicated people like you to serve on its peer review committees.
When you volunteer, there's something in it for you too: being a reviewer gives you an inside perspective of peer review, like what reviewers look for in an application.
At NIAID, we are always seeking qualified people to serve on our review committees. If you're interested, email Ed Schroder in our Scientific Review Program at email@example.com. For more information see Thank You Members of NIAID Peer Review Groups and Advisory Committees.
Being a reviewer gives you an inside perspective of peer review, like what reviewers look for in an application.
NIH is expanding its pilot that allows reviewers on chartered NIH study sections to submit an R01, R21, or R34 at any time, regardless of standard receipt dates.
Starting July 15, 2009, NIH is extending this privilege to regular appointed members of these advisory groups: NIH Boards of Scientific Counselors, advisory boards or councils, and the NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee. Of course, there are still timing considerations, so be sure to read the details in the June 25, 2009, Guide notice.
Learn more about the reviewer role at NIH's Guidelines for Reviewers, which has templates and examples of critiques.
Fellowship applicants, bid adieu to paper applications and say hello to electronic forms.
You must submit your fellowship application electronically starting with the August 8, 2009, receipt date (or August 13 for F31s).
You must submit your fellowship application electronically starting with the August 8, 2009, receipt date (or August 13 for F31s). We reported this change on April 17, 2009, in "NRSAs: Fs Go Electronic, Stipends Go Up, T32 Review Criteria Go Down."
Submit electronically even if you previously sent in a paper application and are now resubmitting.
NIH made the transition official in its June 12, 2009, Guide notice and reissued funding opportunity announcements to reflect the move. For NIAID, these FOAs are:
Keep in mind that you have some steps to take before you can submit electronically, including requesting an eRA Commons account. Learn more at Get Ready Now to Apply Electronically in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
To help ensure that your application is problem-free, carefully read the instructions in the relevant FOA and the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide. You may want to pay close attention to the section on reference letters. For a brief summary, read Writing a Fellowship Application or the Fellowship Grants SOP.
This scenario may hit close to home: your application misses the payline, and it is either your last allowed resubmission or has problems you can't fix. Now what?
If you think that simply rewording your title or Specific Aims will pass muster, think again.
You'll need to create a new application—with the emphasis on new. Since non-new applications are withdrawn and not peer reviewed, it's important to understand what NIH means by "new" and why changing a word here or there won't be enough.
NIH defines a new application as "substantially different in content and scope with more significant differences than normally encountered in a resubmitted application." That means major changes to all parts of the Research Plan, including the questions asked, outcomes examined, or both.
For more information, see Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
If you think that simply rewording your title or Specific Aims will pass muster, think again. NIH will go over your application with a fine-toothed comb, screening it several times to determine whether it is actually new or just another version of an already reviewed project.
You'll have to pass multiple checkpoints. The Division of Receipt and Referral in NIH's Center for Scientific Review completes the first check while scientific review officers, peer reviewers, and program staff perform subsequent checks.
Bottom line: be sure the changes you make adhere to NIH's definition of "new." If you need help, touch base with your program officer to discuss your approach.
Feel free to send us a question at firstname.lastname@example.org. After responding to you, we may include your question in the newsletter, incorporate it into the NIAID Research Funding site, or both.
"Can I revise and resubmit my F31 application and if so, are the due dates the same as for a new application?" --Katrina Gwinn, Baylor College of Medicine
According to the Executive Summary in the F31 program announcement, you can resubmit. Learn about NIH's resubmission policy by reading the October 8, 2008, Guide notice.
In a nutshell, it says:
As for due dates, go to Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications. New, renewal, and resubmissions are due April 13, August 13, and December 13, and be sure to submit your application electronically. See the Fellowship Grants SOP for more information.
The shorter 12-page research plan will affect R01s starting with the February 5, 2010, receipt date or May 7, 2010, for AIDS-related applications.
NIH is phasing it in gradually, so some announcements may require the 12-page limit before then. Be sure to check the SF 424 Application Guide for your funding opportunity announcement.
For your other question, NIH hasn't provided details yet, but check for new information at Enhancing Peer Review at NIH.
If you submitted your R01 application on February 5, 2009, or later, you may resubmit once at any time. If you submitted earlier, you may resubmit twice until January 7, 2011. This rule applies to all R01 applicants, not just new investigators.
If you want to learn more about resubmitting an application, you may want to look at Part 6. If Not Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
To be eligible for most career development awards, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The one exception is the NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00). That said, keep in mind the following:
For more information on this award, read our Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00) SOP.
If you have any further questions, please contact AITrainingHelpDesk@niaid.nih.gov.
Go to the following to learn more about the F31:
NIH has more than one F31 opportunity, but NIAID participates only in the diversity announcement cited above.
You can contact AITrainingHelpDesk@niaid.nih.gov for help. Read about NIAID research at Research.
See these and older announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.
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Last Updated October 07, 2011
Last Reviewed July 01, 2009