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MERIT Awards and Extensions

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Some links will work for NIAID staff only.

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.

Purpose

To enable NIH institutes to give investigators with stellar records of research accomplishment a five-year award (with a possible three- to five-year extension) that does not go through initial peer review.

Procedure

Program staff nominate outstanding investigators for Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Awards (R37), which are approved by spring Council. Each year, NIAID issues about 15 new MERIT awards. Investigators may not have more than one MERIT award at a time.

MERIT awardees may receive an extension of up to an additional five years, depending on Council review and approval of an abbreviated application.

MERIT Awards

Principal Investigators

  • When you receive a nomination letter from a grants management specialist, sign and return it.

Program Staff

  • Recommend R01 awardees who:
    • Have demonstrated superior competence and outstanding productivity.
    • Have outstanding records of scientific achievement as leaders of one or more investigator-initiated research projects.
    • Work actively in a research area of special importance or promise.
  • Prepare support documents for submission to Council. Check with your program division coordinator for deadlines.
  • Scientific division directors prioritize their division's recommendations for spring Council.

Grants Management Specialists

  • After spring Council, get a list of MERIT nominations from the GMP MERIT Coordinator.
  • Send letter informing PI of MERIT nomination. See Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.MERIT Award Nomination Letter.
  • When PI signs and returns the letter, change the activity code from R01 to R37 and issue a Notice of Award.
  • For more detailed instructions, GMP staff can see GMP's Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.MERIT Awards and MERIT Extensions SOP.

MERIT Extensions

Principal Investigators

  • Following your grants management specialist's instructions, submit an abbreviated application between 16 and 19 months before the project period end date of your MERIT award.
    • Send completed PHS 398 and the following items:
      • Progress report of up to eight pages.
      • One-page abstract of the Research Plan for the extension period.
    • Include a budget for the entire extension period.

Grants Management Specialists

  • Receive a list of MERIT extensions from your coordinator by the end of April, July, and November each year. The list will include extensions for awards that end in roughly 21 months.
  • Send a letter to PIs informing them of the MERIT extension application due date. See Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.MERIT Extension Application Request Letter and Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.MERIT Extension Instructions.
  • Send a copy of the MERIT extension application to the following:
    • Center for Scientific Review, which creates a new IMPAC record.
    • Program officer, who prepares the extension application for Council.
    • Program division coordinator (listed below), who serves as the scientific and administrative contact.
    • GMP MERIT Coordinator.
  • For more detailed instructions, GMP staff can see GMP's Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.MERIT Awards and MERIT Extensions SOP.

Program Staff

  • Review MERIT extension applications to make sure nominees are in their fourth year of funding.
  • With your scientific division director's approval, recommend extension of all MERIT awards for that Council round.
  • For each nominee, present a MERIT extension worksheet to Council for approval. Include the following information:
    • A budget level and time period of three to five years.
    • The summary statement from the initial application.
    • The first five pages of the MERIT extension application. If the budget page is not in the first five pages, provide all pages through the budget page.

Contacts

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contact for NIAID Staff—GMP MERIT Coordinator

Program Division Coordinators

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors. Contact for NIAID Staff—DAIDS

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors. Contact for NIAID Staff—DAIT

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors. Contact for NIAID Staff—DMID

If you have knowledge to share or want more information on this topic, email deaweb@niaid.nih.gov with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.

Links

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.MERIT Extension Instructions

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Activity Codes Used by NIAID

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Council Guidance

NIAID Funding Policy and Process SOP

Program Officer Checklist SOP

 

Last Updated April 12, 2013

Last Reviewed March 20, 2012