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May 15, 2013

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles. 

Avoid Bars to Award: Check Your Application's Supporting Documentation

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:

  • Insufficient justification for your use of animals or human subjects. For example:
    • Rationale for including or excluding a certain population
    • Explanation of one of the five points in your Vertebrate Animals section
    • Protections against improper use of individually identifiable information
  • Incomplete description of facilities you’re using for work that involves biohazards or potentially dangerous substances.
  • Overlap with other grants or projects already underway.

Any of these problems can leave you with a bar to award, meaning we cannot fund you even if you fall within the payline.

Just-In-Time—or ASAP?

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:

  • NIH's Office of Extramural Programs reviews paperwork associated with human subjects.
  • For application items related to research animals, NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare validates assurances and checks for compliance with PHS guidelines on animal use and disposal.
  • All applications from foreign institutions require administrative approvals. It takes about two weeks to review NIAID's requests to fund a foreign institution, though some countries and projects may take much longer.

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.

Related Links

Header: Opportunities and Resources.

Sandy-Related Opportunities Can Help Get Research Back On Its Feet

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:

  • NIH Administrative Supplements to Recover Losses Due to Hurricane Sandy Under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act—Non-Construction
    • Offers two options for investigators with an active NIH grant:
      • Funded extension—provides the parent grant a 12-month extension of the current budget period.
      • One-time administrative supplements—request either or both of the following:
        • Up to $50,000 in direct costs to replace lost or damaged research resources, e.g., supplies, reagents, animals.
        • Up to $100,000 to replace a single item of equipment as long you provide well-documented support for the replacement need.
    • You may apply for one or both options.
    • You must include a letter that:
      • Verifies funds requested will not be used for costs that are reimbursed by FEMA, under a contract for insurance, or by self-insurance payments.
      • Contains information on any other requests, e.g., other Sandy-related FOAs, expected to be submitted on your (the PI's) behalf.
      • Is signed by the institutional signing official.
    • Application due dates: June 12, 2013, and September 27, 2013.
    • For complete details, read the April 15, 2013, Guide notice and the April 17, 2013, Guide notice that clarifies the funded extension option.
    • If you have questions about the supplement or extension, contact your program officer.
  • Limited Competition: Restoration of New Investigator Pilot Projects Adversely Affected by Hurricane Sandy (R21)
    • Supports the recovery and restoration of new and early-stage investigators' pilot research and data destroyed or damaged as a result of the hurricane.
    • To be eligible, you must be a new or early-stage investigator as defined by NIH's New and Early Stage Investigator Policies.
    • You must include a letter that:
      • Verifies pilot research data existed before the hurricane and describes the extent of the damage, destruction, or loss resulting from the hurricane.
      • Confirms no requested funding overlaps with reimbursement provided by FEMA, under a contract for insurance, or self-insurance payments.
      • Is signed by the institutional signing official.
    • Application due date: June 19, 2013.
    • For complete details, read the April 15, 2013, Guide notice.
    • Direct questions to Patricia Haggerty, NIAID's contact for this FOA.

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Apply for Funding to Build HIV-Related Research Capacity in Low- or Middle-Income Countries

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.

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Check Out Department of Defense Medical Research Programs

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.

Header: Other News. 

Your Institute Can SCORE in the Eligibility Department

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:

  • Provide an initial or historical mission statement that explicitly states it was founded to educate students from any of the populations that the FOAs list as underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research.
  • Document your institution’s record of recruiting, retaining, training, and graduating students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research, as defined by the National Science Foundation.

Read these April 19, 2013, Guide notices for more details:

Have more questions? Contact Dr. Hinda Zlotnik.

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Two Notices of Correction on Recently Released FOAs

If you're working on an application for either of the following funding opportunities, take note of these corrections:

FOA Correction/Clarification Official Announcement
Autoimmunity Centers of Excellence, Clinical Research Program
  • Corrects a sentence in the Research Plan (Center Research Agenda) to reflect that applications cannot propose principal or pilot projects.
  • Clarifies progress report requirements for current ACE grantees.
  • Clarifies instructions on requesting funds to support Clinical Project development.
April 22, 2013, Guide notice for Autoimmunity Centers of Excellence, Clinical Research Program (UM1)
HIV Vaccine Research and Design (HIVRAD)
  • Corrects the language to remove a modification on instructions for Resource Sharing Plans.
April 22, 2013, Guide notice for HIV Vaccine Research and Design (HIVRAD) Program

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News Briefs

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.

Header: Advice Corner.

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.

"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.

Header: New Funding Opportunities. 

See other announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

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Last Updated May 21, 2013

Last Reviewed May 21, 2013