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When you develop your application, you're probably focused on your Research Plan.
But it's imperative to make sure all sections are as complete and well written as possible because your study section reviews the entire application.
Leaving out details that NIH asks for—even those that don't alter your project design—may lead reviewers to deem one aspect of your application “Unacceptable” or note other concerns that delay your award—or worse—prevent the award from being made.
Start With Your Summary Statement
Your summary statement tells you if NIH or peer reviewers have concerns based on what you include in application sections.
Here are some common concerns we see, usually because of missing details:
Any of these problems can leave you with a bar to award, meaning we cannot fund you even if you fall within the payline.
Once you receive your summary statement, you'll know if you have more work to lift bars related to human subjects, animal welfare, biohazards, or other issues.
Revise as soon as you can using the eRA Commons Just-in-Time module.
If you have more than one concern to address, or cannot complete your response all at once, you can update your documentation as often as necessary.
After you send your updated documentation, other federal entities may need to review it, adding time to our process. Some of those federal entities are:
While program officers will advocate for you, they cannot circumvent these requirements or complete them for you. The sooner you send in your documentation, the sooner we can fund your application.
As we get closer to the end of the fiscal year, it's even more imperative because requests spike across NIH and create longer waiting times. If your problems aren’t resolved by mid-August, we may not be able to make an award before the end of the fiscal year, September 30.
If that seems far away, consider that NIAID starts "end of fiscal year" activities in June.
Words of Caution
Many of our advice points below are simply common sense, but you might be surprised at how often PIs have encountered problems by not following these suggestions.
Make strong ties with your business office. Your business office is also our point of contact and responsible for submitting documents, though it may delegate some submission roles to you. You need to get on the same page; your grant depends on it.
Be extra careful when you change institutions. If you've recently changed institutions or are contemplating a move, verify your new institution has all needed certifications, assurances, and research protections to support your research. If it doesn't, you'll need to prioritize compliance or risk losing your award.
Spend early, but be cautious. Though you can charge grant-related expenses up to 90 days before the start of your grant, your institution is responsible for these charges if we can't make the award or need to delay the start date due to paperwork error.
We have good news for investigators affected by Hurricane Sandy and in need of more funding or time to restore their research. You have a chance at getting both through new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) from NIH.
Note: eligibility is limited to research institutions located in the FEMA-declared major disaster counties of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
NIAID is participating in the following FOAs:
Take note of three funding opportunities designed to develop HIV-related research capacity in low- and middle-income countries:
These opportunities are funded by NIH’s Fogarty International Center through its HIV research training program. Learn more at Fogarty HIV Research Training Program.
Looking for funding opportunities from sources outside of NIH? Here's one that may interest you: the Department of Defense's (DoD's) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).
Since 1992, CDMRP has funded research in several areas, including prion diseases and food allergies. Go to Funding Opportunities for current ones, like the Military Infectious Diseases Applied Research Award.
DoD is now on NIAID's List of Foundations and Other Funding Sources. Take a look to see who else offers opportunities you may want to apply for.
Interested in NIH's Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) Program?
NIH has clarified one aspect of eligibility for the SCORE Research Advancement Award, SCORE Pilot Project Award, and SCORE Research Continuance Award:
How to demonstrate your institution’s historical mission of training a diverse group of students underrepresented in biomedical research, as defined by the National Science Foundation.
To do this, you can:
Read these April 19, 2013, Guide notices for more details:
Have more questions? Contact Dr. Hinda Zlotnik.
If you're working on an application for either of the following funding opportunities, take note of these corrections:
RPPR Reminder. Don't forget: NIH now requires the use of the eRA Commons Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) module for submitting Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process (SNAP) and fellowship progress reports for awards with start dates on or after July 1, 2013 (i.e., due dates on or after May 15, 2013, for SNAP awards and May 1, 2013, for fellowships). See NIH's Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) site for more details on RPPR.
Get Up to Speed on Animal Care. Review the basics and put what you know into practice with the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) 101 and 301 workshops taking place June 5 and 6 in St. Louis, Missouri. For program, registration, and accommodation information, go to IACUC 101™ Series.
Public Forum on Public Access. Be a part of the conversation on expanding public access to the results of federally funded R&D digital scientific data. Join others at the National Academy of Sciences May 16 and 17 to discuss the topic. Registration is required. Read the May 7, 2013, Guide notice for additional details and registration information.
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.
"Are there formal quotas for the percentage of grants not given a formal review and a score?"—anonymous reader
No. The number varies by study section and grant type. In general, an application is not discussed if the reviewers unanimously judge its merit to be in the bottom half of the applications being reviewed by a study section.
In some study sections, applications are divided into groups based on type, for example, new investigator R01s. In these cases, an application is not discussed if reviewers judge it to be in the bottom half of its group.
Read more in If Your Application Is Not Discussed in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
"Does Council play a role in appeals of peer review?"—anonymous reader
It may. When an investigator disputes the results of an initial peer review, he or she works with the program officer and, if necessary, the scientific review officer (SRO) to resolve the issues without taking an appeal to Council. If this is unsuccessful, the NIAID program officer will then present the appeal to Council for consideration. Whether or not our Council concurs with the applicant's appeal request, NIH's Center for Scientific Review (CSR) makes the final decision to re-review an application.
Before you consider an appeal, see Should You Appeal? in the Strategy for NIH Funding, and read Appeals of Scientific Review of Grant Applications SOP.
See other announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.
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Last Updated May 21, 2013
Last Reviewed May 21, 2013