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Resubmission of Unfunded Applications

Note: This page does not reflect NIH's revised policy for application submission. See the April 17, 2014, Guide notice.

We will update this page soon.

 

Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

Where can I learn what to do if my application didn't succeed?

Call your program officer after you get your summary statement, and read the following in Part 6. If Not Funded of the Strategy for NIH Funding:

Is appealing a good idea?

You can appeal an initial peer review you feel was seriously flawed, though we often recommend revising and resubmitting your application instead.

Read more in Should You Appeal? in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Can I appeal for differences in opinion on science?

No. You can appeal only for defects in the review procedure, for example, a conflict of interest or bias. See Should You Appeal? in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Can I resubmit my application if I have a pending appeal of an initial peer review?

Yes, but you will need to withdraw the appeal. You cannot have an appeal and a resubmission in the system at the same time. See the Appeals of Scientific Review of Grant Applications SOP for details.

If my score misses the payline, should I resubmit or wait?

We advise you not to wait for possible funding later in the year. If you revise and resubmit, you can improve your application based on the feedback from the initial peer review and hopefully get a better percentile and likelihood of getting an award.

Call your program officer for more advice and read Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Does a resubmission remove the original scored application from funding consideration?

No. The eRA Commons allows investigators to send one resubmission while the earlier application remains active, so NIAID can fund the earlier application if a resubmission receives a worse score.

Can a resubmission hurt my initial application's chance of funding?

Not usually. A resubmission that scores slightly worse than your initial application probably won’t affect your likelihood of funding, as we could still fund your initial application. However, a resubmission that fares significantly worse probably would hurt your funding prospects since reviewers would have found problems that weren’t apparent the first time.

That said, our data show that less than five percent of resubmissions score significantly worse than the initial applications. More than 80 percent get better scores, and for around 15 percent, results are equivalent.

By addressing the issues raised in your summary statement you will increase the likelihood that your resubmission will fare even better than your first try. Just remember that the summary statement isn't an exhaustive critique. Read more in Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

If my application is not discussed, does that mean it is poor quality?

Not necessarily. Because an application that is not discussed doesn't get a full review, it's harder to gauge the peer reviewers' appraisal.

In today's budget environment, high-quality applications might be not discussed because the pool contains a lot of outstanding applications, including resubmissions, which have already addressed the study section's concerns.

If your application is not discussed, stay objective, and spend time figuring out what areas reviewers felt had problems. For more advice, read What to Do if You Get Bad News in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Do a good proportion of investigators get funded after revising and resubmitting?

Yes.

Should I always revise and resubmit if I didn't succeed?

No. First determine whether your problems are fixable.

We have more on this topic in What to Do if You Get Bad News in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How can I tell whether my problems are fixable?

Read What to Do if You Get Bad News in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

What are my options if I want to revise and resubmit?

You may request the same study section or a different one. Talk to your program officer and learn more at Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

For my resubmission, do I need an introduction?

Yes. You must include an introduction to the Research Plan. For details, read How to Resubmit in the Strategy for NIH Funding. For example of a good introduction to a resubmission, look at the Research Plan from Dr. Adam Ratner's sample application.

For my resubmission, may I use a different title if I have new preliminary data that changes the direction of the original application?

Yes. According to the SF 424 Application Guide, you should choose a new title if your Specific Aims have significantly changed. Note this in your cover letter.

Otherwise, a resubmission should have the same title as the previous application.

Should I read my summary statement carefully to identify problems?

Yes. Use your summary statement as feedback. For advice, read What to Do if You Get Bad News in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Can I revise my application and request a new study section?

Yes. Read Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding for tips.

How many times can I revise my application and resubmit it?

Once.

What should I do after one resubmission?

After one resubmission, you must submit a new application unless you can repurpose your project for another opportunity. For details, read Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How long do I have to resubmit my application?

You must send your resubmission within 37 months of the original application's receipt date, regardless of when you actually submitted your application. See the Application Resubmissions SOP for more information. 

Is the deadline for an AIDS resubmission different from the deadline for an initial AIDS application?

No. You submit an AIDS and AIDS-related application on May 7, September 7 or January 7 whether the application is new, a renewal, a resubmission, or a revision. Non-AIDS applications generally have different due dates for initial applications and resubmissions.

Go to the Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications for all NIH receipt dates.

Can I keep some parts of my application if I can no longer resubmit?

Note: This answer does not reflect NIH's revised policy for application submission. See the April 17, 2014, Guide notice. We will update this answer soon.

Yes. Though you must submit a new application with new research questions and significantly revise your Research Plan, you may keep some parts of your original application.

Alternatively, you may be able to repurpose your project for another opportunity. For details, read Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

If I respond to all the previous reviewers' comments, am I guaranteed success when I revise and resubmit?

No. The two main reasons are: a summary statement is not an exhaustive critique of your application, and the second or third group of peer reviewers may not agree with a previous group. For more information, see Assess Peer Review Results in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Where should I respond to reviewers' comments from my previous application's summary statement?

Include a point-by-point response to reviewers’ comments in your one-page introduction.

See our sample Introduction to Resubmission Application. Your program officer can also advise you.

For more information on resubmission, see How to Resubmit in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Where can I find information about completing an electronic resubmission application?

Read our How to Resubmit in the Strategy for NIH Funding, and see Prepare Application: Resubmission, Revision, Renewal on NIH's Applying Electronically frequently asked questions.

What may I do if I apply for an RFA and my application doesn't succeed?

You have two possibilities. First, see if the request for applications allows a resubmission. Though RFAs usually have only one receipt date, some allow you to resubmit. Read What may I do if a reissued RFA allows resubmissions of applications from the previous RFA? below.

If you can't resubmit, see if you can reuse the application—read Which types of unfunded applications may I reuse, and how do I proceed?

What may I do if a reissued RFA allows resubmissions of applications from the previous RFA?

If we reissue an RFA (with a new number) that allows resubmissions, you have the option of submitting it as a  new application or a resubmission.

However, if an RFA is open for several years (the RFA number remains the same) and simply allows resubmissions, you must apply with a resubmission.

How do I know if I can resubmit an application that responded to a PA?

Check the NIAID Funding Opportunities List to make sure your program announcement (PA) is still on the list and open. If it is, you can find the expiration date in the Guide notice. You can resubmit until that time unless NIAID decides to extend the PA.

If the PA is no longer open, talk to your program officer for advice.

Which types of unfunded applications may I reuse, and how do I proceed?

Normally you cannot submit the same research project more than once to NIH or any other PHS agency, but there are exceptions. For more on this topic and how to proceed, read the section titled "Option 3: Repurpose the Application" of Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

If my investigator-initiated application is not funded, may I submit it again in response to an RFA?

Yes, see the question above, Which types of unfunded applications may I reuse, and how do I proceed?

If my application responding to an RFA is not funded, may I submit it again as investigator-initiated?

Yes, see the question above, Which types of unfunded applications may I reuse, and how do I proceed?

If my application is not funded, may I submit it again using a new mechanism, e.g., from an R01 to an R21?

Yes, see the question above, Which types of unfunded applications may I reuse, and how do I proceed?

Can I submit the same application to another organization as well as to NIH?

Yes, as long as the organization is not a Public Health Service agency. Learn more at Broaden Your Horizons in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

If your application is selected for funding, you must list it in the other support information you send us just-in-time. Keep in mind that the other organization may have a similar requirement. See Prepare Your Other Support Submission in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Can I replace another investigator as PI on a resubmission?

Yes. You may assume the role of PI on another investigator's resubmission—just make sure you rewrite the application to reflect that you are now PI and get approval from your business office to make the change.

In your cover letter, explain why you took over as PI. If the switch is related to comments from the previous review, note that.

If I replace another investigator as PI on a resubmission, will my new investigator status be affected?

No. If you are a new or early-stage investigator, you still get those benefits—e.g., a higher payline—even if the original PI was an established investigator.

One caveat to consider: reviewers will question a senior investigator who swaps roles with a new investigator. Even if you are an outstanding scientist, such a move might raise concerns about the quality of the science, the significance of the project, and the original investigator's commitment to his or her work.

Allay those concerns by explaining the change in your cover letter, as noted above.

What if my question wasn't answered here, or I'd like to suggest a question?

Email deaweb@niaid.nih.gov with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. We answer questions by email and post them here. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.

Last Updated April 17, 2014

Last Reviewed November 29, 2011