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March 6, 2013

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles.

From February Council: Highlighting New Members and Concepts

Last month's advisory Council meeting was the first of its kind for NIAID in that director's remarks and subcommittee proceedings were videocast live so that anyone, anywhere could watch on the Web.

For those who weren't able to attend the meeting in person or online, here's a brief look at two of the highlights: the official welcome of new Council members and the latest approved concepts.

You can also view the archived sessions at the following links on the NIH VideoCasting and Podcasting site:

Newcomers Now on Board

NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci introduced the following new members, who will serve on Council until October 31, 2016:

  • DAIT Subcommittee
    • Maria Laura Acebal, J.D., former CEO of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)
  • DMID Subcommittee
    • Norman W. Baylor, Ph.D., president and CEO of Biologics Consulting Group, Inc.
    • Robert B. Belshe, M.D., professor of medicine, pediatrics, and molecular microbiology and director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Saint Louis University
    • Diane E. Griffin, M.D., Ph.D., university distinguished service professor and Alfred and Jill Sommer Chair of the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

To learn more about them, go to Biographical Sketches of NIAID Council Members.

Approved Concepts

As you may know, Council must approve a concept before we can announce it as a possible initiative: request for applications (RFA), program announcement (PA), or request for proposals (RFP).

These concepts were greenlighted at the February 4 meeting:

  • DAIT's potential RFAs for a Human Immunology Project Consortium, DAIT Statistical and Clinical Coordinating Center, and HLA Region Genomics in Immune-Mediated Diseases program.
  • DMID's potential RFPs for a Statistical and Data Coordinating Center for Clinical Research in Infectious Diseases, DMID Regulatory Affairs Support, and Phase I Clinical Trial Units for Therapeutics.

For details, go to Concepts: Potential Opportunities. Note that DAIDS did not present any concepts.

It's important to check out concepts since you can use them as clues to NIAID's research interests and potential topics for future investigator-initiated applications. Find out more at Use Our Concepts List, Blend Approaches in our Strategy for NIH Funding.

Keep in mind that there's no guarantee that a concept will become a published initiative. For more on the planning process, go to Concepts May Turn Into Initiatives.

Learn More

To find out more about the activities of our advisory Council, go to:

Header: Opportunities and Resources.

DMID Expands Its Resources for Vector Researchers

If you are working with arthropod vectors of pathogens to humans, you may be interested in the expanded vector resources that NIAID’s Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID) is offering.

In the past, most of the resources available pertained to malaria vectors. Now, these resources include other live mosquito and non-mosquito vector species as well as reagents and genomic material.

You can find these resources through the DMID repository contractor BEI, where they are free of charge to registered BEI users at domestic and foreign institutions. Visit Vector Resources on the BEI Resources site. You are not required to have an NIH grant to access these resources.

Also, check out these other resources:

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FOA Calls for Expanded Genomic Centers for Infectious Diseases

Over the past decade, NIAID has invested significantly in genomic-related activities. These activities include supporting the sequencing and analysis of many genomes of pathogenic and related organisms, such as those that cause emerging infectious diseases.

To keep building upon this success, a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is calling to establish two or three Genomic Centers for Infectious Diseases. These centers will expand the sequence data, resources, and technologies that have been generated through the current NIAID-funded Genomic Centers.

This new effort also marks a shift toward large-scale, high-throughput genomic sequencing approaches to studying infectious diseases to better understand pathogens and their interactions with their host, including the microbiome.

The program will have the capacity to generate diverse genomic data products from viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and invertebrate vectors of infectious disease and host and microbiome, as well as robust bioinformatics data management analysis platforms.

If interested in applying, your organization must have a principal investigator who has experience managing a high-throughput, large-scale genomic sequencing center for infectious diseases.

Your application will also need to propose four research projects that revolve around the themes of viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and/or vectors.

And, you’ll be asked to explain how you will use a combination of next-generation genomics sequencing technologies and bioinformatics analyses to focus on human pathogens and their interaction with their host.

Genomes that will be sequenced include those from microorganisms from the List of NIAID Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases.

For complete details, read the February 7, 2013, Guide notice. The application due date is June 24, 2013.

Header: Other News.

Sequestration News

Anticipating possible sequestration, NIH summarized a brief operating plan in a February 21, 2013, Guide notice.

Since sequestration is in effect, you can expect NIH's institutes and centers to issue individual plans to meet the new budget level.

NIAID will post information on the Paylines and Funding page and write a follow-up in an upcoming newsletter.

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New Policies for May Progress Reports

We're passing along news you'll want to know as you prepare your May progress reports.

RPPR Required for Some

You must now submit progress reports using eRA's Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) module for the following awards:

  • Streamlined noncompeting award process (SNAP) awards with reporting due dates on or after May 15, 2013.
  • Fellowships with reporting due dates on or after May 1, 2013.

For details, see NIH's February 6, 2013, Guide notice and go to Know Which Progress Report to Prepare in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

NIH Sets Start Date for Enforcing Compliance With Public Access In All Progress Reports

The wait is over for those wondering when exactly NIH would implement this change: that is, a delay in making noncompeting awards to investigators who have not been compliant with public access policy in their progress reports.

It begins with noncompeting grant awards that have a start date of July 1, 2013—meaning those with SNAP progress reports due May 15, 2013, and paper progress reports due May 1, 2013. It does not apply to final progress reports for grants already in their last year.

See the official word in the February 14, 2013, Guide notice.

As both NIH and we have told you, you'll need to use My NCBI to enter papers onto progress reports.

For more on that as well as advice on avoiding potential compliance problems, read our February 6, 2013, article "Complying With Public Access in Progress Reports."

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Office of Management and Budget's Proposed Grant Reforms: Comments, Please

Before the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) develops final guidelines on federal grant policy reforms, it needs your input once again.

You may remember that OMB requested feedback last year on proposals aimed at reducing burdens on institutions by streamlining compliance rules. That feedback helped in developing the proposed rule issued in a February 1, 2013, Federal Register notice.

The proposed rule covers a lot of ground, but there are a few areas to which you should pay attention. For those and more information on the rule, read NIH's February 6, 2013, Extramural Nexus article "One Step Closer: OMB Asks for Comments on Proposed Rule on Federal Grant Policy Reforms."

To find the Federal Register notice and the full text of the proposed rule, as well as a place to submit a comment, go to Reform of Federal Policies Relating to Grants and Cooperative Agreements; Cost Principles and Administrative Requirements on the Web site.

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News Briefs

CSR's New Percentiling Method. Starting on March 8, the Center for Scientific Review will adjust the base used to calculate percentiles. CSR describes the recalibration and what it will mean for percentile rankings and summary statements on the Peer Review Process page.

Got Promoted? You Can Provide This Information Post-Submission. NIH confirmed that you can send information about professional promotions or tenure decisions after applying. For a complete list of the material NIH will accept after application, see the January 29, 2013, Guide notice. We also summarize at If You Need to Send Late Materials After Submitting in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

RFI: Help Shape NIH Training on "Big Data." Since new technologies can generate large amounts of biomedical data, NIH plans to increase training in this area through the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative. Your advice can help ensure the training meets your needs. For details on the information requested and how to send it, see the February 20, 2013, Guide notice. Responses are due March 15, 2013.

Expiration Date Extended for Immunodeficiency Diseases PAs. NIAID has extended the expiration dates for Small Grants on Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases (R03) and Exploratory/Developmental Investigations on Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases (R21) to September 8, 2013.

Header: Advice Corner.

Understanding the New Award Budget Caps for Small Business Grants

If you are applying to NIH’s recently released Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Omnibus funding opportunity announcements (FOAs), you may have read that the Small Business Administration has released some guidance regarding award budget caps.


New hard budget caps were introduced under the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. These caps are now $225,000 for SBIR and STTR Phase I awards and $1,500,000 for Phase II (total costs for the entire project).

The option for a budget cap waiver was also included as part of some new provisions in the reauthorization legislation.


Under this new waiver, NIH may allocate only a total of five percent of its small business dollars to fund the portion of all SBIR and STTR Phase I and II awards that exceed the budget caps. This five percent is totaled for all solicitations and NIH will determine how it will allocate this total across all awards.

Even if you obtained a waiver to exceed the cap, any bump in your funds would be so minor that it is likely not worth your time and effort to request such a waiver.

Although we don’t recommend seeking waivers, we will still consider any requests to waive the budget caps. However, we strongly encourage you to first talk with your program officer before you decide to submit an application with a proposed budget in excess of the hard cap.

In the meantime, keep following the Award Budget instructions within each solicitation. And read our February 6, 2013, article “New Reauthorization Act Provisions Affect SBIR and STTR Omnibus Funding Opportunities” to better understand which new provisions the FOAs do and do not currently allow.

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Know if Your H5N1 Research Will Receive an Additional Level of Review

You may have read that NIH added an additional level of review for some H5N1 research applications and proposals. Is your work affected?

Odds are, no.

This extra level applies to a narrow subset of research: research applications or proposals that may generate highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses that are transmissible among mammals by respiratory droplets.

If your research fits into that category and NIAID is considering funding it, NIH will submit your application or proposal to HHS for review to ensure the following:

  • Such viruses could be produced through a natural evolutionary process.
  • Proposed research addresses a scientific question with high significance to public health.
  • There are no feasible alternative methods to address the same scientific question in a manner that poses less risk than the proposed approach.
  • Biosafety risks to laboratory workers and the public can be sufficiently mitigated and managed.
  • Biosecurity risks can be sufficiently mitigated and managed.
  • Research information is anticipated to be broadly shared in order to realize its potential benefits to global health.
  • Research will be supported through funding mechanisms that facilitate appropriate oversight of its conduct and communication.

Once HHS agrees that your research meets the criteria above, NIAID can proceed with funding your research, though you will receive special terms of award and extra reporting requirements.

If you have a funded grant that meets these criteria, you need to wait for HHS to complete its review before you can use federal funds to conduct these H5N1 experiments. Your institution will be notified once you’re approved to continue your work.

For full details on the H5N1 rules, read Framework for Guiding Funding Decisions About Research Proposals With the Potential for Generating Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 Viruses That Are Transmissible Among Mammals by Respiratory Droplets.

For a summary, read the recent Science article “A Framework for Decisions About Research with HPAI H5N1 Viruses” (requires subscription).

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.

"Does NIAID offer funding opportunities for medical students who are not in a combined M.D./Ph.D. program?"—anonymous reader

No. You may want to look for opportunities on NIAID's List of Foundations and Other Funding Sources or contact for additional advice.

"What do I do if I don't like my study section assignment?"—anonymous reader

If your application was assigned to CSR, contact the scientific review officer listed on your study section assignment to discuss why you think this assignment is not appropriate.

If NIAID is to review your application, you usually cannot request a review group because typically only one group will review applications. Read the funding opportunity announcement to find out who is conducting the peer review.

For more advice and information, read Ensure You Get the Right Assignments in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Header: New Funding Opportunities.

See other announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.


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Last Updated March 06, 2013

Last Reviewed March 06, 2013