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September 4, 2013

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles.

Step Five to a Winning Application: Size Up Your Specific Aims

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.

Online Portal Makes Clinical Trial Data Available to Investigators

TrialShare is a new online portal, developed by the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) to share its clinical trial data in an open and transparent manner.

ITN, an international clinical research consortium sponsored by NIAID, is dedicated to the clinical evaluation of novel, tolerance-inducing therapies for autoimmune diseases; asthma and allergic diseases; and rejection of transplanted organs, tissues, and cells.

The TrialShare portal provides public access to the underlying raw data and statistical analysis from ITN clinical trials as well as data analysis tools to enable investigators to reanalyze the information and develop new hypotheses. Currently, TrialShare houses data from eight ITN clinical studies.

TrialShare also provides a catalogue of ITN’s bio-repository samples, which investigators may request to perform follow-up experiments.

Earlier this year, the TrialShare research Web portal was recognized with an honorable mention in Best Practices by Bio-IT World.

The TrialShare portal is open to the public and creating an account is free. Visit the ITN TrialShare Web site for more information.

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Register Now for Regional Grants Policy and Management Training in Argentina

Join NIAID staff in Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 23 to 25, for a Grants Policy and Management Training Workshop.

This three-day event is designed for principal investigators, business officials, budget coordinators, and others involved in grant administration. The focus will be on post-award management problems that are frequently encountered by foreign grantee institutions.

Sessions will cover information on grant and funding policies and resources for managing awards. You will also have the option to attend various mini-workshops on topics that may be of specific interest to you.

For information on registration and to see the agenda, go to Upcoming NIH Grants Policy and Management Training Workshops.

Header: Other News.

Take Note of Notices Affecting Students and Postdocs

At the recommendation of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director's Biomedical Workforce Task Force, NIH is implementing two measures regarding students and postdocs that become effective in October 2014. For those who'd like to start preparing, here's a brief overview.

NIH Encourages Grantees to Develop Development Plans

To help graduate students and postdocs achieve their career goals, NIH expects grantees to take two actions:

  1. Develop and implement institutional policies requiring Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for every graduate student and postdoc supported by any NIH grant.
  2. Starting October 1, 2014, report IDP use in progress reports, no matter the type of NIH grant that's used for support.

Find additional details in the July 23, 2013, Guide notice and NIH's July 23, 2013, Extramural Nexus article.

Students With Commons IDs Will Be Common Soon

Postdocs working on NIH grants are no longer the only ones who need an eRA Commons account. That requirement now extends to graduate and undergraduate students who participate in NIH-supported projects for at least one person month of full-time work.

NIH is phasing in this new policy to give people time to register in the Commons and create a profile. Here's the implementation plan:

  • Phase I, already in progress—as of August 15, graduate and undergraduate students can establish their Commons accounts.
  • Phase II, starting October 18, 2013—the following take place:
    • Revised instructions and forms for the PHS 2590 Non-Competing Continuation Progress Report and Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) become available.
    • Both the PHS 2590 and RPPR will prompt for graduate and undergraduate students' Commons IDs. Though IDs won't yet be required, the RPPR will generate a warning for students who have not established one.
    • Students—and postdocs—creating a Commons profile will be required to provide details such as birth date, disabilities, citizenship, and gender, race, and ethnicity.
      • Note: people may choose to answer "I Do Not Wish to Provide" for questions on gender, disabilities, race, and ethnicity.
  • Phase III, starting October 1, 2014—Commons IDs are required. NIH will not accept RPPRs or PHS 2590s that do not have this information.

For more information, read the August 2, 2013, Guide notice and Extramural Nexus article.

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In With the New: Updated Parent Announcements Use Adobe Forms C

Use the newly reissued parent announcements for your R01, R03, and R21 applications due on or after September 25. This new version uses the Adobe Forms C grant application packages, so if you had been working on an application using the old forms, you’ll need to copy your information into the new forms instead.

See the parent opportunities here:

Beginning September 25, you’ll need to use the new forms for AIDS applications and continuous submission as well (see links above). In the meantime, for AIDS applications for the September 7 due date (which rolls forward to September 9), continue to use PA-11-260, PA-11-261, and PA-11-262.

For more on transition dates, see our earlier article “You Should "C" Which SF 424 Forms to Use.” NIH highlighted this shift in a July 26, 2013, Guide notice.

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News Briefs

Public Comments on AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia of Animals Now Available. Public Health Service (PHS) awardee institutions take note: NIH received 12 comments from the public about the updated American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition. The NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare has submitted all comments to the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia for consideration. For more information, including the link to view the comments, see the July 22, 2013, Guide notice.

Sign Up for the FDA's Fall 2013 Small Business REdI Conference. If you are planning to attend NIAID's SBIR workshop on September 27, 2013, in Washington, D.C., you may also be interested in attending the Food and Drug Administration's Small Business Regulatory Education for Industry (REdI) Conference. This conference will be held September 25 and 26 in Bethesda, MD and is free to attend. See the Fall 2013 REdI Conference Web page for more information.

Request for Information (RFI): Big Data. Respond to NIH's RFI on methods to improve data compression/reduction, data visualization, data provenance, and data wrangling. For details, read the August 8, 2013, Guide notice. Comments are due this Friday, September 6. Also read the August 21, 2013, article "Big Data: Web Site, Workshop, Funding Opportunity."

Header: Advice Corner.

Best Way to Get a Speedy Response From Your Grants Management Specialist

If you have a grant, you have a grants management specialist to help you with administrative elements of your award: negotiation, reporting, budgeting, and management.

Whether you work with this person directly or your institution's business office takes the lead, when you need to get in touch, follow these steps to get a timely and thorough response:

  • Contact your grants management specialist (listed in eRA Commons) if you know you're approved for an award or you’re already managing your grant. Otherwise, a program officer is probably your best bet.
  • If contacting your grants management specialist is the right move, start with an email. In your email, do the following:
    • Provide your grant or application number.
    • Clearly explain why you are getting in touch and describe what you want.
    • Provide any other contact numbers and email addresses you have.
    • State how urgent the matter is, or give a time or date by which you need a response.
    • Copy your program officer.

Grants management specialists typically respond by the end of the next business day. However, from July to September their workloads get substantially heavier, so it may take two business days to get back to you. If you can afford to wait, please do.

If your issue is urgent or you do not get a reply within two business days, take these steps to escalate your request:

  • Follow up with a call to the grants management specialist.
  • If you still don't hear back, contact the most appropriate branch chief; find his or her name at Grants Management Program Contacts.
  • If the branch chief doesn't reply in two business days, contact the Grants Management Program Chief, Mary Kirker.

For a graphic illustrating this process, go to Get a Speedy Response From Your Grants Management Specialist.

Info graphic illustrating the process for getting a speedy response from grant management inquiries. Find Mary Kirkner on NED.Grants Managment Contacts

When would I contact my grants management specialist instead of my program officer?

Here's a rule of thumb:

How do I know who my grants management specialist is and how to contact him or her?

Find his or her name and contact information in your funding opportunity announcement before applying, and in the eRA Commons after you apply or during the award. Keep in mind this can change during the life of the award, so check the Commons for the current person for that grant year.

You may also check NIAID's Grants Management Program Contacts.

Learn more in Communicating With NIAID—How to Get Help.

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.

"Is travel an allowable expense on an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) application and can the funds allocated for travel be used for research support if travel plans change?"—Margo Gladys, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center

Travel is an allowable expense, and yes, you may reallocate funds if travel plans change.

For more information, see Pathway to Independence Awards (K99/R00) SOP.

"Does NIAID usually conduct a reverse site visit at the time of the review?"—anonymous reader

No. However, this is sometimes a consideration for large, complex awards. If a site visit is necessary, your program officer will make arrangements with you and send a letter that includes a list of participants and an agenda.

See the Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Site Visits, Grantee SOP for more information.

Header: New Funding Opportunities.

See other announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

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Last Updated September 04, 2013

Last Reviewed September 04, 2013