You're trying to get a hold of your program officer but are having no luck. What should you do? We provide suggestions here as well as a few key points to keep in mind.
Be Aware of New Phone Numbers
Staff in our three program divisions—DAIDS, DAIT, and DMID—recently moved to a new building, which means they have new addresses and phone numbers. Both should be reflected in your program officer's NIH Enterprise Directory (NED) entry (NIH's electronic Yellow Pages).
You should also be able to find updated phone numbers in your Commons account.
That said, take note. When program officers move to new positions or locations, NIH may need some time to update their contact information.
Therefore, if you call and find that the number doesn't work, email or try phoning your program officer's division using its main number. Someone there should be able to direct you to the person you're trying to reach.
Ask Yourself Two Questions
Do I have the right person? Check your Commons account to make sure the program officer for your grant award or application hasn't changed. The name on a summary statement or Notice of Award might not be for the person currently assigned, so your call or email may have to be re-routed, which causes delays.
Do I have the person I need? Before you email or leave a voicemail for your program officer (or even after while waiting to hear back), ask yourself: Am I certain he or she is the person I need to answer my question or resolve my issue?
Remember, you should reach out to him or her for scientific, funding, and programmatic matters related to NIAID funding. Learn more about When to Contact an NIAID Program Officer.
You should contact someone else for other issues, such as:
Know That Certain Times Are Busier Than Others
Program officers are always busy, but they're likely to be busier at certain times of the year. During these periods, you may need to wait a bit longer than usual for a response.
For instance, right after NIH publishes a FOA, program officers—not just the scientific/research contacts listed—get inundated with inquiries, which take time to address.
Also, during the last quarter (July-September), program officers are busy meeting internal deadlines for end-of-fiscal-year activities and attending study section meetings, so they may not be able to answer you immediately.
If, however, you are trying to resolve a bar to award or other pressing issue that affects your getting funding, your program officer should be in contact with you as soon as possible. In such cases, it's a good idea to copy your assigned grants management specialist on your email so he or she can do what's needed on the grants management end.
Get a Response and the Information You Need
Help your program officer provide a timely response by following these tips.
Last Updated April 13, 2014
Last Reviewed December 30, 2014