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February 15, 2012

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles.

Step Seven to a Winning Application: Build Your Team

We moved the contents of this article into Ten Steps to a Winning R01 Application. As part of the Strategy for NIH Funding, the ten steps give you a path to funding success if you're applying for an R01.

Header: Opportunities and Resources.

Small Businesses Can Get Funding for Clinical Trials—But Not Through an SBIR or STTR

Stop! If you want funding for your small business to conduct a clinical trial, don’t apply for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant.  

You must go through NIAID's investigator-initiated clinical trial planning and implementation process instead.

First, talk to one of our program staff about whether we are likely to support your proposed clinical trial. Choose your contact based on the disease and research focus of your proposed clinical trial:

Also discuss which may be the best grant type: an R34 (if you need a planning phase), R01 (if you are ready to begin a low-risk clinical trial), or a U01 (if you’re ready for a high-risk clinical trial).

Most clinical trials that require FDA investigational new drug (IND) approval before starting a clinical trial are considered to be high-risk and use the U01. Definitions of high- and low-risk are in the funding opportunity announcements (FOAs).

And be sure to check out our Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial Resources and Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trials Questions and Answers to learn more about the application process.

You can still apply for an SBIR or STTR grant for the nonclinical trial parts of your research.

But take note: if your small business award becomes eligible for funding and you’ve included a clinical trial, we will remove the clinical trial part, reduce your budget, and bar you from spending funds on the clinical trial.

Keep in mind small businesses may apply for most grant types. Always read your FOA to be sure.

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Small Business Opportunities: New Parent and Viral Hepatitis PAs

Business was hopping for small business opportunities on the last day of January.

That's when NIH came out with the following for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants:

  • Reissued parent program announcements (PA)
    • Use them starting with the April 5 receipt date.
  • New PAs on technologies for viral hepatitis
    • Propose projects to develop devices, drugs, or new and innovative approaches to diagnosing, monitoring, managing, treating, or preventing viral hepatitis and associated liver disease.
    • Note that there are more funds available for the SBIR opportunity than the STTR.
    • Until the Small Business Administration releases budget regulations for FY 2013 and beyond, follow Section IV. Award Information in the PAs. For this and other details, read the SBIR and STTR announcements.

If you have any questions, contact Dr. Gregory Milman in our Office for Innovation and Special Programs.

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With HIVRAD, Get Support for Developing Approaches for a Preventive HIV Vaccine

Is your work relevant to the quest for a prophylactic vaccine for HIV/AIDS?  Are you ready to more thoroughly test your concepts and preliminary results?

Set your sights on our HIV Vaccine Research and Design (HIVRAD) funding opportunity.

You can get up to five years of support for research that targets multicomponent, multidisciplinary projects that address important scientific questions relevant to prophylactic vaccine discovery. Read more in the January 31, 2012, Guide notice.

Though the program has been around for a while, we just recently reissued the funding opportunity announcement. Applications are due June 13, 2012.

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More Dates Confirmed: Grantsmanship Workshops on New Clinical Trials Units

Following up on our January 18, 2012, article "Coming in July: Grantsmanship Workshop on New Clinical Trials Units, we're announcing more dates for our workshops on applying for the clinical trials units for our clinical research networks. 

The second workshop will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 16 to 18, 2012.  The last one will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from October 25 to 27, 2012.

Stay tuned for details in a future issue of this newsletter and keep checking Restructuring the NIAID Clinical Trials Networks.

Header: Other News. 

Next Step for Paylines

In case you haven’t yet seen our Paylines and Funding page lately: we posted actual paylines for all grant remaining types except T32 training grants on February 3.

(For FY 2012, our R01 paylines are set at the 10 percentile for investigators who are not new and 14 for new investigators, which we wrote previously.)

The new paylines reflect actual budget-based projections for this fiscal year. They replace our interim paylines, which are an administrative step we take to start funding grants at the beginning of the fiscal year before our budget level is known.

While most of the actual paylines rose from their interim levels, we lowered the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) payline from 25 to 20 overall impact score. 

That step was necessary because we received many more high-quality applications than we had anticipated for the STTR program.

Lowering the initial STTR interim payline lets us ensure that we will have enough money to make awards throughout the year and keep our commitments to existing grants.

Change Happens

If you’re wondering about all this flux, we’ll explain.

Setting paylines is a balancing exercise we continue to do as budget and application information emerges during the fiscal year. As the data come in, the payline picture becomes clearer and tweaking may be in order.

At the start of the fiscal year, we wait to set our actual paylines until we have a budget.

Then we set paylines conservatively so we can ensure that applications coming in later in the fiscal year have the same chance of getting a grant as those submitted earlier.

A major impact on applicants is the possibility of having to wait until the end of the fiscal year to get funded, but that’s a necessary trade-off so we can ensure an equitable process.

In the case of the STTR applications, none were funded at the higher level of the interim payline, so all applications are subject to the same payline for this fiscal year.

Look to Success Rates

It’s best to view paylines as a budgeting tool we use to manage funding throughout the year rather than an absolute funding level.

Because paylines (except for R01s) can rise—and due to end of year funding—paylines are not a good indicator of the percentage of applications we are funding.

For that number, turn to success rates.

Example: in FY 2011 when we had the same R01 paylines as this fiscal year, our R01 success rate was 17.3 percent, quite a bit higher than the percentile-based paylines.

For more about success rates, read Success Rates Indicate Funding Levels in the Strategy for NIH Funding. You can find our success rates by fiscal year at NIH's RePORT.

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Check Out This Year's NIH Regional Seminars

It's never too early to plan ahead, especially if you want a seat at one of NIH's Regional Seminars on Program Funding and Grants Administration.

These annual events are popular—and with good reason. They give participants a chance to meet NIH staff, network with their peers, and learn about policies, programs, and the grants process.

As in past years, NIH has planned two, two-day seminars (with an optional eRA computer workshop the day before). If you live or plan to be in the Hoosier State or the nation's capital, take note of these dates:

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Mind How You Pay for Refreshments at Your NIAID-Funded Conference

NIH no longer allows you to pay for food and meal costs using conference grant funds.

If you received your award on or after January 27, 2012, you'll have to find another way to cover these expenses at your conference. Before that date, you're in the clear.

The rule applies to both competing and noncompeting conference awards and does not extend to other grant types. Read details in the January 27, 2012, Guide notice.

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News Briefs

Here's news from around NIH.

Register for the PRIM&R 2012 IACUC Conference and IACUC 101 Workshop. Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research is hosting two educational sessions on institutional care and use committees in Boston, MA. Start with IACUC 101: The Basics on March 19 and stick around for the 2012 IACUC Conference on March 20 and 21. Read more in the January 27, 2012, Guide notice

Header: Advice Corner.

Follow @NIAIDFunding for Neat Tweets

If you're a fan of Twitter, you can now use our new Twitter account @NIAIDFunding to get the freshest news, tips, and funding opportunities, including key items from Latest Funding Updates.

We've been tweeting away for a few weeks already, so check out the archive of information and tips when you drop by. See something you like? Please consider retweeting it to your followers to spread the word.

And do you have ideas or suggestions for tweets you'd like to see? Send @NIAIDFunding a direct message through Twitter or email

If you haven't used Twitter before, here's a nice summary from Health and Human Services (HHS):

You can think of Twitter as a micro-blogging social network. You use your computer or mobile phone to communicate short messages, or "tweets", that are limited to 140 characters. People can sign up on Twitter to follow your tweets as you choose to follow people/accounts that you find valuable and relevant.

For more tweets from NIAID, see @NIAIDNews and @NIAIDCareers. For even more, NIH has many Twitter accounts on Newsletters and Feeds and see Official HHS Twitter Accounts.

Header: Reader Questions.

Feel free to send us a question at After responding to you, we may include your question in the newsletter, incorporate it into the NIAID Research Funding site, or both.

"My R01 application is within the payline of the secondary institute but not NIAID. What should I do?"—anonymous reader

We suggest that you contact the program officer at the secondary institute for guidance on the next steps.

Keep in mind that even if an application scores within the secondary institute’s payline, there's no guarantee it will be funded. And be aware that other institutes have different funding policies than we do.

Header: New Funding Opportunities.

See these and older announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

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Last Updated March 23, 2012

Last Reviewed February 15, 2012