See the Glossary for more terms.
In the past two weeks, we've seen a flurry of NIH Guide activity with new formats, forms, and processes.
Waves of changes are starting to hit us stemming from funding constraints, more data collection as NIH moves to all-electronic record keeping, and big-impact shifts resulting from Enhancing Peer Review at NIH.
For some changes, you'll need to use new or renamed forms. For others, you'll have to alter your approach to writing an application or managing your grant.
You may have to dance to several tunes at the same time, but we'll help you out by sending the latest news in this newsletter and keeping our Web site up to date.
Watch for an article in our next issue on changes to the application forms, and keep an eye on Latest Funding Updates, Top Policy Changes, and Special Announcements on the Research Funding site.
For more on Enhancing Peer Review changes, see our August 26, 2009, article "Prime Yourself for New Applications, Peer Review."
By going to our Council-approved concepts online, you can get a peek at priorities at an early stage. Then you can use that information in two ways.
Although the largest part of NIAID's budget pays for investigator-initiated grants—you choose the area of science—some of our dollars pay for targeted research, where we define the topic.
Why go that route? Some of our priorities are mandated by Congress; others reflect scientific and public health needs and opportunities we must take on.
Defining research priorities and deciding where to commit Institute funds is a weighty task. So NIAID gets input from the extramural research community, including focus groups and our advisory Council.
Each initiative—request for applications (RFA), program announcement (PA), and request for proposals (RFP)—you see in the NIH Guide has taken a two-year journey from a concept to a grant or contract—see the graphic below.
That process starts with focus group meetings where NIAID staff get feedback from the community on emerging priorities. After that, NIAID executives delve into merits of potential initiatives—called concepts at this stage—at the Institute's biannual planning retreats.
Staff then spend the next six months refining the concepts that were approved at this stage before presenting them to our advisory Council for concept clearance, a legally required step.
NIAID's three Council subcommittees take an in-depth look at each initiative, often recommending changes to the budget, mechanism (e.g., grant or contract), or other key features.
Concepts approved to be published as initiatives become part of NIH's budget plan, which is later incorporated into the President's Budget proposal to Congress.
After we reconcile scientific need and funds, the highest priority concepts become published PAs, RFAs, and RFPs, reflecting the Council-approved concepts from the previous year.
Both the President's Budget proposal and initiative publication occur one to two years before we award the grants or contracts depending on when we can make an award.
By going to our Council-approved concepts online, you can get a peek at priorities at an early stage. Then you can use that information in two ways:
Learn more in our previous articles, May Concepts—Worth a Look and Concepts for New Initiatives—Should You Tune In?
Here's where to find new concepts and initiatives:
Keep in mind that when responding to an initiative, your chance of success depends mainly on your expertise in the subject. Read more in Concepts May Turn Into Initiatives and Choose Approach and Find FOAs in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
Looking for more ARRA answers? Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has expanded its Frequently Asked Questions American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to answer more of your questions.
And it wants to respond to your concerns. If your questions are not answered on the site, write to OMB at Contact Us. You can also sign up for changes at Get Updates.
For ARRA quarterly reporting, many institutions are taking care of this requirement. Contact your institution's Office of Sponsored Research to learn your role.
You may use an NIHMS ID for up to three months after a paper is published. After that, you must use the PMC ID.
When it comes to following NIH's public access policy, don't take any chances since compliance is a legal requirement and a term and condition of award. Your program officer is monitoring awards for compliance and has a role in enforcing it.
It's not only essential to heed guidelines but also to stay on top of new requirements.
Case in point: NIH recently set a limit on how long you can use an NIH Manuscript Submission ID when citing a paper in your application, proposal, or progress report. You may use an NIHMS ID for up to three months after your paper is published. After that, you must use the PubMed Central ID (PMC ID).
NIH implemented this policy since 1) authors were submitting papers long after publication rather than at the time of acceptance, and 2) people who initially obtained an NIHMS ID failed to complete the submission process and get a PMC ID in a timely manner, delaying access to the public.
To make sure you are complying with the policy, keep these items in mind:
Find further details in the August 12, 2009, Guide notice. Also read our Public Access of Publications SOP, which describes what to do when a PMC ID is and isn't ready, and visit NIH Public Access.
Though NIH asks for data on people with disabilities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, you're no longer required to submit the numbers.
Breathe easy if you don't have some pre-enrollment data for Tables 7a and 7b, two of the fillable data tables used in Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) applications.
Though NIH asks for data on people with disabilities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, you're no longer required to submit the numbers. And don't worry—omitting this information won't affect how your application is evaluated. For further details, see the August 21, 2009, Guide notice.
As a reminder, make sure you use the data tables in the PHS 398 when applying, as we advised in our August 5, 2009, article "T32s: Don't Table Official Data Tables."
Total cost limits for Challenge Grants are those advertised in the initiative—$500,000 a year and $1,000,000 for two years.
Some of you asked how strictly NIH is limiting total costs for Challenge Grants. The short answer is: strictly. The limits are the ones advertised in the initiative—$500,000 a year and $1,000,000 for two years. No exceptions.
NIH will also be adjusting direct costs awarded, as necessary, to make sure the total award amount does not exceed these budget limitations.
For more information, go to the Recovery Act Limited Competition: NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research (RC1) and the Challenge Grants FAQs.
You have until November 9, 2009, to submit a proposal in any of NIAID's topic areas.
We have two items of interest for those seeking small business grants.
Check out our narrated Advice Presentations for SBIR and STTR, now updated with more information and guidance to help you get a small business award.
Here's just some of what you'll find:
In addition to these presentations, find other helpful resources on our Small Business Awards portal.
See if any of these new opportunities pique your interest.
If you have an R&D project in mind, consider responding to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Contract Solicitation (PHS 2010-1).
You have until November 9, 2009, to submit a proposal in any of NIAID's topic areas:
For further details, read the solicitation and the Instructions.
Want help developing your business and moving your product to market? If you're an SBIR grantee, you may want to try CAP, NIH's Commercialization Assistance Program. But hurry—you must apply by September 14, 2009. Slots are limited.
CAP gives you access to experts who know how to guide life science businesses to the marketplace.
Two tracks offer customized assistance:
You are eligible if your NIH SBIR phase II is or was active in the past six years. For more information, go to NIH's Commercialization Assistance Program and read the August 27, 2009, Guide notice.
If you have an innovative idea that could have a big impact on your field or public health, look into applying for one of these initiatives.
For the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, both the Pioneer Award and New Innovator Award have significant changes from the last versions, so read the instructions in the RFAs carefully.
Pioneer Award. For all qualified investigators (foreign institutions are not eligible).
New Innovator Award. For early-stage investigators only (foreign institutions are not eligible).
Transformative R01 Program. No details yet. Check Transformative R01 Program for information as it comes in.
NIAID's innovation opportunities. For all qualified investigators, including foreign institutions.
For a comparison of some of NIH's innovation programs, see How does the New Innovator Award program differ from other NIH programs targeting innovative research, such as the Pioneer, Transformative R01 (T-R01), and EUREKA programs?
September 15 is the deadline for resubmitting letters if they weren't done right the first time.
After receiving fellowship applications with August due dates, NIH brings two major concerns to your attention.
Keep September 15 in your sights. That's the deadline by which your references must submit their letters again if they did not originally use the required References for Fellowship Awards format page. Many "referees" made this mistake, which must be corrected since applications missing required letters may be delayed for peer review.
If you haven't already done so, contact your referees immediately and have them follow the steps in the August 27, 2009, Guide notice to make sure corrected letters are in the eRA Commons.
In that notice, you'll also find the right way to indicate your sponsor in the application's Profile-Senior/Key Personnel section.
Some of you did not follow instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide and will therefore need to contact the eRA Commons Help Desk with your application number and sponsor name. If emailing this information, use "Fellowship Sponsor" in the subject line.
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.
"Where can I find how much a grant was awarded?"—an anonymous reader
You can look up funded grants using the new NIH RePORTER search tool.
You can do a wildcard search on project number. For example, in the project number field, enter %XXXXX% for the 5-digit identifier.That brings up several applications, and you can pick the one you're curious about.
You can learn more about this tool on RePORT Instruction. If you have questions or comments about RePORTER, email email@example.com.
"If I receive ARRA Bridge funding for one year, can I request a no-cost extension if those funds and the project are not completed in the first year?"—Fred Frankel, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Yes, you can request a one-year no-cost extension.
If your amended R01 gets funded during the no-cost extension, we'll terminate the Bridge and fund the R01. Keep in mind that you cannot carryover ARRA funds to a non-ARRA grant.
"Can an ARRA administrative supplement to retain a postdoctoral position be used to hire a research technician if the postdoctoral fellow moved to a new position?"—Dana Mordue, New York Medical College
You can use your supplement to hire a technician as long as the technician does the same work that the postdoctoral fellow was doing. If that is not the case, contact your grants management specialist.
"Do the letters of reference and letter from mentors and advisory committee members need to be new if I am resubmitting a K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award application?"—Kyle Popovich, Rush University Medical Center
According to the director of our Office of Special Populations and Research Training, people who write your letters may use the originals but should update them. They'll need to submit them again through the eRA Commons.
For more on this aspect, see Who submits my reference letters to the eRA Commons? on our Career Development Grants questions and answers page.
"A post-DVM student in my laboratory garnered a new fellowship with a third of the costs ($20,000) to be paid by me. Can I use my R21 funds for this?"—an anonymous reader
No. R21 funds can pay for work only on that grant. The fellowship is separate, so you need to find another way to cover the $20,000.
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Last Updated November 01, 2011
Last Reviewed September 09, 2009