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December 19, 2013

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles.

Why Writing Letters of Intent Helps Us Help You

An optional letter of intent from you helps NIH plan review meetings, but it doesn’t affect your score in review. So what’s in it for you?

A letter of intent helps us help you. If you provide enough information, our program staff can advise you on how to best direct your effort to secure funding.

We encourage you to send a letter of intent well before you respond to a grant opportunity.

It's to your advantage to go beyond the minimal information that opportunity announcements typically suggest for your letter.

This information will help NIAID staff determine if your application is responsive to the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), or if there is a better fit in a different FOA. Here are some additional details you could include.

What to Include Issues we may spot for you
Concise description of your proposed project. Do not send us your entire application.
  • Whether your research would be a good fit for NIAID, and if not, which other NIH institute or center might be more appropriate.
  • Whether it sounds responsive to the announcement.
  • If there’s a better opportunity for your idea than the one you had in mind.
  • Other concerns worth addressing before you apply.
Whether your plans touch on special policy areas such as human subjects, clinical, or animal research.
  • Whether your analysis of the NIH definitions or exceptions seems to match.
  • Whether your human subjects research might also be classified as a clinical trial.
  • If you seem aware of special rules restricting your choice of animal species or animal-related plans.
  • Other possible limits that could affect your planned avenue of research.
Name of pathogens you plan to study, if any.

The advice you get from program staff can keep you focused on the best path forward. Without program advice, you could waste your only chance to respond to a request for application (RFA), or one of your two chances for other types of grants.

Letter or not, we always recommend touching base with program staff sooner rather than later so that you have sufficient time to use their advice to improve your application.

For more on that, see When to Contact an NIAID Program Officer. And to learn more about how we can help you at other stages of the process, see Communicating With NIAID—How to Get Help.

Header: Opportunities and Resources.

HIV/AIDS Researchers: Apply for PEPFAR-Related Supplements

In a September Guide notice, NIH gave you a heads up about a supplement opportunity it would be offering with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

If you fit the eligibility requirements* and started developing a project and forming collaborations, you'll be glad to know the official supplement announcement was published last week and that the deadline has been pushed back to January 31, 2014.

Your proposed project, which must apply rigorous implementation science methodology while building in-country research capacity, must focus on one of the following research areas. For additional details on them, read the December 10, 2013, Guide notice.

  • Implementation Science for Treatment Programs
  • Metrics for Quality of Care
  • Identification/Diagnosis and/or Prevention of Tuberculosis (TB) Disease
  • Linkage of Non-HIV Services With HIV Care
  • Focus on Key Affected Populations (see announcement for definition of key populations)
  • Focus on Adolescents
  • Training and Health Systems
  • Mother-to-Child Transmission and Maternal Health

As you prepare to write and submit your application, be aware of the following:

  1. You have only five pages for the Research Plan.
  2. You may submit your supplement request using one of three methods—if your parent grant has moved to electronic submission. If it hasn't, you must go the paper PHS 398 route. Learn more in our Administrative Supplements to Grants and Cooperative Agreements SOP.

Note: on the face page, enter the title and number (PA-14-024) of the PEPFAR supplement announcement, not of the administrative supplements parent program announcement indicated in the SOP.

Of course, you should also read the Guide notice for other application and submission requirements, as well as further information on the supplements.

If you have questions, contact NIAID's Melanie Bacon.

*You must not only have current NIH grant funding but also be conducting research in resource-limited countries in topic areas relevant to PEPFAR.

Header: Other News.

This Is the Last Issue of 2013

With the publication of today's issue, we're closing up the Funding Newsletter shop for 2013.

You can always sign up for email alerts about paylines, funding opportunities, and policy changes at NIAID Email Alerts Subscription Center.

We will pick up again on January 15, 2014. See you then!

News Briefs

Try New Online CV Tool. Check out and try out Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae (SciENcv). This new tool lets you create an online curriculum vitae that you can share with others. Not only that, you can use it to quickly and easily generate a biosketch for your grant application. SciENcv is in a test phase—learn more in the November 20, 2013, Rock Talk blog entry Test Drive SciENcv.

Tweak to Continuous Submission Policy. For those eligible for continuous submission, NIH may be able to assign your application to an earlier Council meeting depending on the timing of your peer review meeting. Read the December 4, 2013, Guide notice.

NIH Allows Chimpanzee Research Proposals. Starting with the January 25, 2014, due date, NIH will consider research proposals involving chimpanzees or biomaterials from chimpanzees. For details on the new policy, exemptions, and timeframes, read the November 25, 2013, Guide notice.

Header: Advice Corner.

Which Form for Training and Career AIDS Applications?

For the upcoming AIDS deadline of January 7, 2014, your application for a T, F, K, or D award should use Adobe Forms B.

You might wonder about which version to use since NIH has begun issuing new versions of these funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) with Adobe Forms C. The older FOAs with Forms B will still be valid for the January 7 AIDS deadline.

After that—for the January 25, 2014, due date onward—these application types must use the new FOAs and Forms C.

Learn how to identify the form version of a grant application package at NIH's Do I Have the Right Electronic Forms for My Application?

If you'd like to confirm which forms to use or you have other questions about training and career awards, contact Dr. Katrin Eichelberg.

Most other grant types, including R01s, are already using Adobe Forms C for this AIDS deadline. For background, see our July 3, 2013, article “You Should 'C' Which SF 424 Forms to Use.”

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.

"May I request a resubmission application be assigned to a different study section than the one that reviewed my original application?"—anonymous reader

Yes. Read Option 1: Revise and Resubmit on Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

"When will you post more types of sample applications?"—several readers

We plan to add at least one fellowship application to our Sample Applications and Summary Statements page within the next few months, and hope to expand to other types of applications soon after that.

If you have an exceptional application that you might be willing to share, email We'll reply with more detail on how we handle and redact sample applications so you and your organization can decide whether to provide a sample for our site.

Header: New Funding Opportunities.

See other announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

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Last Updated December 19, 2013

Last Reviewed December 19, 2013