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March 28, 2012

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles.

Step Ten to a Winning Application—Write to Excite

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 Business Funding Opportunities for Alzheimer's Research

Efforts to fight Alzheimer's disease got a boost when the Obama administration set aside $50 million to the cause from NIH's fiscal year 2012 budget.

Investigators at small businesses can benefit from some of these funds, thanks to two recent funding opportunity announcements (FOAs)—an SBIR and an STTR—on Alzheimer's disease research.

Proposed projects must fit into the topics listed in the FOAs. For NIAID, they are:

  • The relationship between cytokines, chemokines, and other mediators of inflammation on the initiation, progression, prevention, or treatment of Alzheimer’s.
  • Development of therapeutics for the neurocognitive changes related to HIV disease and the development and progression of Alzheimer’s.

Email the scientific contacts listed in the FOA to determine whether your application should be assigned to NIAID or another institute.

Applications for both opportunities are due by April 30, 2012. For complete details, read the February 29, 2012, SBIR and STTR announcements.

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Seeking New Research on Chronic, Persistent, and Latent Infections

Think your bold idea can pave the way for innovative interventions that will clear persistent, chronic, or latent infections from an affected host?

Take a look at a funding opportunity for basic and early-stage translational research that can lead to a breakthrough on these fronts. (Applications proposing to study HIV are not permitted).

This opportunity is a two-phased R21/R33, which has the potential to allow a transition to the next phase without a break in funding.

For the first phase, PIs conduct milestone-driven exploratory or feasibility studies while the second phase expands development for PIs who have achieved their negotiated milestones. Go to our R21/R33 Phased Innovation Award SOP to learn more.

Read the March 15, 2012, Guide notice for details, instructions, and a list of areas we are interested in. Application deadline is July 13, 2012, with optional letters of intent due June 13.

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Now Online: Videocast on Leadership Group for a Clinical Research Network on Antibacterial Resistance

You may have missed this videocast a few weeks ago but good news: it's now on the NIH VideoCasting and Podcasting site so you can watch it at your leisure. Just go to Leadership Group for a Clinical Research Network on Antibacterial Resistance: Information Session.

Since it provides more information on the related funding opportunity—see the January 13, 2012, Guide notice—you'll find it helpful to tune in.

For example, hear from program staff about the structure and function of the new Leadership Group as well as current NIAID-supported antibacterial resistance-related research activities. And, learn about application requirements and peer review procedures from grants management and scientific review staff.

You can find a list of questions, including those submitted during the videocast, at Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Related to the Antibacterial Resistance Funding Opportunity Announcement on the Restructuring the NIAID Clinical Trials Networks site.

Header: Other News. 

Manage Extramural Activities, Help Lead a Division

The search is on for an exceptional candidate to be deputy director of our Division of Extramural Activities (DEA). Is this executive career opportunity for you?

The DEA director and deputy director oversee the management of NIAID awards as well as the review of contracts and certain grant applications. They implement extramural funding policies while managing areas within their purview: international, small business, and training and career development programs.

As deputy director, your reach will extend beyond NIAID as you represent the Institute on trans-NIH committees and at national and international conferences, and enhance partnerships with public and private organizations.

To learn more about the position and how to apply, read the Deputy Director of the Division of Extramural Activities announcement.

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Electronic Contract Proposals—New Pilot

Offerors: watch upcoming NIAID solicitations to see if you should use our new Electronic Contract Proposal Submission (eCPS) system. Our pilot effort for eCPS begins with the NIH Tetramer Core Facility opportunity.

eCPS is one component of our integrated, secure system for submitting, capturing, reviewing, and tracking NIAID R&D contract proposals.

Eventually, we hope to phase out paper proposals for R&D contracts. That change would make the proposal process easier for offerors and reviewers as well as eliminate the need for us to store paper proposals.

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This Summer's Feature: Uniform Progress Report, RPPR

We hope you'll be big fans of the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). As a uniform federal-wide approach for progress reporting, the RPPR replaces the PHS 2590, eSNAP, and PHS 416-9.

This summer, NIH will roll it out as an option for all members of the Federal Demonstration Partnership (most major grantee institutions are part of the FDP; see a list of Members).  A pilot has already started at the following institutions:

  • Duke University
  • University of Michigan
  • Oregon Health and Science University
  • University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • University of Washington

The pilot includes only awards that have a modular budget.

For complex grant types and non-SNAP awards, NIH has not decided on a schedule or implementation plan yet.

Though the RPPR will be optional at first, we expect it will become mandatory sometime in the next fiscal year.

Watch for news on NIH's Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) site. We'll also write follow-up articles and update our Web pages as the process evolves.

NIH announced pilot details in a March 9, 2012, Guide notice. The RPPR has been in the works for a long time; we last wrote about this topic in our May 26, 2010, article "Coming Not So Soon: PHS 2590 Changes."

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Register for NIH's SBIR/STTR Conference

The Derby isn't the only big event in Kentucky this year. NIH's annual conference on small business programs will be held in Louisville too, from May 30 to June 1.

You'll find it worthwhile to attend since you can learn about the SBIR and STTR programs, find out how to prepare a competitive application, and meet one-on-one with NIH staff.

You'll also have a chance to attend a poster session to see types of funded projects, network with awardees, and discuss possible collaborations.

To learn more, go to NIH's 14th Annual NIH SBIR/STTR Conference.

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News Briefs

Here's news from around NIH.

Tutorial on Financial Conflicts of Interest. A new Web-based Financial Conflict of Interest Tutorial clarifies HHS’s revised 2011 regulations for promoting objectivity in research. For details, read the March 9, 2012, Guide notice.

Sign Up for IACUC 101 Workshop. Join NIH for a workshop on institutional animal care and use committees on April 11, 2012, in Irvine, CA. Read the March 2, 2012, Guide notice for more information.

Header: Advice Corner.

Foreign Institutions: Time to Renew Your Animal Assurance?

Maybe, since NIH just changed the rules for when non-U.S. institutions may renew their Foreign Animal Welfare Assurances.

Previously, you could renew your assurance whether or not you had an NIH grant. But with the new policy, you may renew it only if your institution has NIH funding or funds are pending.

Don’t delay renewing your assurance as soon as you may do so. For NIAID to award or continue funding a grant involving vertebrate animals, the institution must have an assurance on file with NIH’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW).

If the assurance expires due to a lack of funding, your institution will need to quickly negotiate a new assurance with OLAW when your grant has been selected for funding and your institution has received its just-in-time request.

You’ll need that assurance if your institution is either the grantee or a subaward partner to a domestic grantee. To learn more, see Animal Welfare Assurance for Foreign Institutions.

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Your Application Is Assigned to Study Section . . . ZRG1?

If NIH's Center for Scientific Review (CSR) assigns your application to a study section beginning with ZRG1, don't panic if you can't pull up the roster in the Commons or find one online.

ZRG1 is code for a CSR special emphasis panel (SEP), an ad hoc group of reviewers assigned to review your application in special situations, for example:

  • One or more standing study section member has a conflict and no other study section has the expertise to review your application fairly. For example, CSR may balk at assigning your application to a review panel that has any members mentioned in your application—even consultants who contribute materials only.
  • You're eligible for continuous submission.
  • You apply for a fellowship or small business award.

For these SEPs, rosters may not appear until close to 15 days before the review meeting depending on how quickly a scientific review officer can gather the proper reviewers.

When CSR does post the rosters, it often aggregates several panels into one list. SEPs are often very small, and consolidating rosters prevents applicants from identifying who reviews their applications.

CSR treats SEPs like standing study sections, with the same rules and practices governing the review of your application.

Contact your scientific review officer with questions about your assignment, such as the review date and areas of expertise on the panel. Any SRO should be able to give you this information and explain why your application went to a SEP.

For our advice on making sure your application is reviewed by the most appropriate reviewers, read Ensure You Get the Right Assignments in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

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.

"Can my institution support trainees on non-federal fellowships if they are also receiving a stipend from an NRSA grant?"—Susan Lau, University of California, San Francisco

Yes. Your institution may supplement stipends from non-federal funds as long as there isn't any additional obligation for the fellow. Your institution determines the amount of stipend supplementation it will provide based on its own established policies.

For details on this NIH policy, read 11.2.10 Supplementation of Stipends, Compensation, and Other Income in the Grants Policy Statement.

"I read the concepts cleared at January Council. Should I wait for a concept to become an initiative before I write an application?"—anonymous reader

No. When you review our Concepts: Potential Opportunities, consider whether your expertise lends itself to any of the research topics. If it does, discuss a potential investigator-initiated project with the program contact listed in the description of your concept of interest.

Investigator-initiated applications in high-priority areas may qualify for above-the-payline funding if NIAID does not publish an initiative.

For more advice, read Choose Approach and Find FOAs in the Strategy for NIH Funding. Learn more about how Concepts May Turn Into Initiatives in NIAID Funding Opportunity Planning and the Budget Cycle.

Header: New Funding Opportunities.

See these and older announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

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Last Updated March 28, 2012

Last Reviewed March 28, 2012