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February 1, 2012

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles.

Step Six to a Winning Application: Outline Your Experiments

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.

Lead the Way for NIAID’s Clinical Trials Networks

Be one of our leaders for one of six funding opportunities that await you.

We just released funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) to create leadership groups for clinical research networks that will help advance the following areas:

  • HIV/AIDS and HIV-Associated Infections in Pediatric and Maternal Populations
  • Integrated Strategies to Prevent HIV Infection
  • Microbicides to Prevent HIV Infection
  • Therapeutics for HIV/AIDS and HIV-Associated Infections in Adults
  • Vaccines to Prevent HIV Infection
  • Antibacterial Resistance

As part of these leadership groups, you will have overall responsibility for designing, prioritizing, implementing, and managing the networks’ clinical research scientific priorities.

The Division of AIDS will oversee the HIV/AIDS programs and the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases will oversee the antibacterial resistance program.

These funding opportunities are part of our decision to expand upon the success of our six current HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Networks by creating an infrastructure that can perform both HIV/AIDS research and research addressing antibacterial resistance.

A new mechanism will be used for these funding opportunities—UM1, a type of cooperative agreement designed for a complex, large-scale, single project that has multiple components. Multiple PIs are allowed.

Application deadlines and award dates vary by opportunity. For complete details, read the following announcements:

Go to Restructuring the NIAID Clinical Trials Networks to find the latest resources, policies, guidance, and an opportunity to Submit a Question to our program staff.

For background information on DMID’s antibacterial resistance opportunity, read NIAID Leadership Group for a Clinical Research Network on Antibacterial Resistance.

Also, keep your eyes peeled—in the next couple of months, we plan to release a funding opportunity announcement for the Clinical Trial Units, which will support the clinical research sites.

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Getting to the Root of Inflammation and Immune Activation in HIV Disease

Are you up for a challenge? Take stock of a new funding opportunity announcement that has an ambitious goal: to identify—through novel clinical trials for therapeutic interventions—mechanisms or pathways that can prevent or reverse chronic immune activation in HIV-infected people.

To fit part of the bill, you must propose a proof-of-concept clinical trial in HIV-infected people who are on effective antiretroviral therapy. The trial should be conducted at a single site and have a small sample size, i.e., 50 or fewer patients.

There's much more to this announcement, so read the January 20, 2012, Guide notice for the full scoop. And here's a piece of advice we encourage you to take: as you plan your application, consult with NIAID's program officer, Alan Embry.

The sooner you start a discussion, the better. The deadline for optional letters of intent is June 13 with applications due July 13.

Header: Other News. 

News Flash! News Flash: Funding Plans, Salary Cap, and Stipends

We now have details on our budget for fiscal year (FY) 2012.

NIH saw an overall increase to $31 billion, 0.8 percent higher than last year's budget.

Among changes relevant to our budget, Congress moved appropriations for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS to the U.S. State Department. This has no impact on our research operations or funding—we were essentially custodians of this money as it passed through our agency on its way to the Global Fund.

After accounting for a modest increase in funding for AIDS research and other funding categories, NIAID ended up with a $4.5 billion budget, 0.3 percent higher than in FY 2011.

See NIAID Budget Data Comparisons for a summary of NIH budget changes compared to last fiscal year.

Tending to Our Priorities

The FY 2012 budget level allows us to keep the average size of awards comparable to last year's levels, support new investigators at R01 success rates equal to those of established investigators, establish paylines close to last year's levels, and fully fund competing awards.

Still, with a budget that's essentially flat, a concern for the budgets in future years, and the need to balance our funding of incoming applications with support for noncompeting awards, Congress required us to remove the inflationary adjustments from noncompeting grants for both FY 2012 and future years.

For information on NIAID's funding plan for competing, noncompeting, selective pay, and R56-Bridge awards, go to Financial Management Plan.

Salary Caps Will Go Down

Congress required an unprecedented reduction in the grant salary cap. This unique situation may have a significant impact on future year grant budgets, but we can comment only on grant actions in FY 2012.

For new and renewal competing awards, the limit hinges on your award's issue date:

  • Before December 23, 2011, the cap remains at the FY 2011 level of $199,700 for FY 2012 but will drop to $179,700 in future years.
  • On or after December 23, 2011, the cap is $179,700 for FY 2012 and future years.

For noncompeting awards, we will not reduce the total award because of the new salary cap. However, you may charge salary only up to the amounts listed above.

You may not get paid beyond the salary cap by rebudgeting from other categories, but you may use any freed up salary funds for other purposes.

Keep in mind your institution may pay you beyond the cap with non-grant funds.

The salary cap level of $179,700 will remain in effect in future years until Congress enacts a new salary limit.

Find the updated figures at PI Salary Cap and Stipends, and read the January 20, 2012, Guide notice for more information.

Boost in Stipends for Trainees, Fellows

Training and fellowship stipend levels are up two percent from last year. Check NRSA Stipend Levels for the FY 2012 numbers.

On a related note, training-related expenses and institutional allowances did not change. For the amounts, go to Institutional Research Training Grants and Applying for a Fellowship in our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards.

Get full details in the January 20, 2012, Guide notice.

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Electronic Supplement Applications Coming Soon

Keep an eye on the NIH Guide for details and funding opportunity announcements about the upcoming option to apply for administrative supplements electronically.

If you're eligible, you can apply electronically through Grants.gov or using a new eRA Commons module.

Following either the Grants.gov or Commons route, your application will need to respond to an upcoming supplement program announcement.

NIH plans to publish an administrative supplements parent announcement for all application types that use electronic application. It will also publish announcements that correspond to a grant type, e.g., for diversity supplements.

We expect NIH to publish those program announcements soon.

For now, you can still apply for supplements using the usual paper-based route. See the December 21, 2011, Guide notice for eligibility details.

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Don't Be Shy: Comment on Diversity, Datasets

NIH gives you some food for thought in two recent requests for information.

Provide your input once you've mulled over the topics:

  • Actions NIH can take to increase the diversity of the biomedical research workforce.
  • Policies for managing, integrating, and analyzing research data and administrative data.

Your feedback will help working groups overseeing each area develop recommendations they can present to the NIH director and the advisory committee to the NIH director.

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News Briefs

Here's news from around NIH.

NCATS Is Born. NIH is creating a National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) dedicated to translating scientific discoveries into new drugs, diagnostics, and devices. NCATS will have its own advisory Council, staff, and programs. For more information, read the January 6, 2012, Guide notice and visit Feedback NIH

NCRR Is Dissolved. As it stands up NCATS, NIH will also disband the National Center for Research Resources and move NCRR grants, applications, programs, staff, and funding to NCATS and other institutes. NIAID doesn’t expect to receive NCRR grants but if we do, we’ll follow the policy laid out in the January 6, 2012, Guide notice.

Check out the IACUC Workshop in Orlando. Join NIH for a workshop on institutional animal care and use committees on March 9, 2012, in Orlando, FL. Read the January 24, 2012, Guide notice for details.

Header: Advice Corner.

Will Your R21 Application Be Homeless?

If you’re planning an investigator-initiated NIH Exploratory Developmental Research Grant Program (R21) application, make sure it will have an NIH institute to call home.

Before applying, you should identify an NIH institute interested in your area of science that also accepts R21s—not all of them do. Find a list of participating institutes and what they'll accept at Contacts and Special Interests.

NIAID does support the R21, so if your area of science fits NIAID, we can accept your application. But get advice from an NIH program officer if you are not sure where your application fits, or you think it might belong in an institute that no longer accepts R21s.

After the program officer informs you that you are in the right place, you can include that confirmation in your application cover letter. Read more in Create a Cover Letter in Part 4 and Ensure You Get the Right Assignments in Part 5 of the Strategy for NIH Funding.

If the Center for Scientific Review can't find an appropriate institute for your application, NIH may reject it. If so, CSR will let you know. Otherwise, you can check the Commons within seven to 10 days after you apply to see which institute they assigned.

Header: Reader Questions.

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

"What should I do if I think a researcher is supposed to share his or her reagents, model organisms, or data, but isn’t?"—anonymous reader

In general, NIH policy requires that results and accomplishments be shared as a term of award—see Section 8.2 of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

However, sharing is not required for every award or every resource. If a grant has a data sharing or model organism sharing plan, the PI should follow that plan. That plan may or may not require sharing, or may only require sharing in certain ways, for example, providing the reagent or resource to a repository.

Be sure to check our repositories for the resources you seek at NIAID Resources for Researchers. These repositories are public, though most have requirements you’ll have to meet before you can request materials.

You can also read What can I do if I believe an investigator is refusing my request for strains or other resources? on NIH's Frequently Asked Questions.

Header: New Funding Opportunities.

See these and older announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

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Last Updated February 27, 2012

Last Reviewed February 01, 2012