Address Just-in-Time Requests and Bars to Award Quickly

Funding News Edition: April 19, 2023
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NIAID clinical trial volunteer signs an informed consent form, acknowledging that he understands the study protocol as well as possible risks and benefits associated with his participation.

Credit: NIAID

If your application scores in or near the NIAID Paylines, be ready to submit your just-in-time (JIT) information when requested and promptly resolve any restrictions or bars to award. To help, here is a refresher on the JIT process and what to do about funding issues in your summary statement.

Through the Pre-Award Requests (Just-in-Time) process, you supply time-sensitive information NIAID staff need for a potential award. For example, if you did not include the date of your institutional review board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) review and approval in your application, our staff will need you to certify IRB or IACUC approval before they can issue your grant. Find more examples of JIT certifications and other support information in the sample NIAID Request for JIT Information.

Two JIT Email Requests and When to Prepare

You can prepare some JIT information before NIAID requests it, but we advise that you work ahead only if funding seems likely; otherwise, you may be wasting your time. You should also be mindful of your institution’s recommended timing and processes for JIT information, e.g., certifying IRB or IACUC approvals. To decide when to prepare other items, such as a list of other support for key personnel, read on about the two JIT emails and determining the likelihood of funding.

First JIT email. NIH automatically sends notifications to applicants whose overall impact score is 30 or less, even though that threshold is higher than NIAID’s paylines for most grant types. NIH sends this email promptly after peer review. Check NIH’s sample Request for Just-in-Time Information to know the format of this message. This automated request does not signal likelihood of funding, so it should not factor into whether you should begin preparing JIT information.

Check your likelihood of funding. For investigator-initiated applications, confirm whether your score is in or near the corresponding NIAID payline before you prepare JIT materials. Note, however, that for solicited applications, (e.g., responding to a request for applications), NIAID usually funds applications in overall impact score order (rather than using paylines) until all set-aside money is committed.

Whether your application was solicited or unsolicited, we advise that After You Get Your Summary Statement, Contact Your Program Officer for guidance on whether your award seems fundable. If it appears so, you can begin to prepare JIT information. 

Second JIT email. Once funding is likely, you will get a second JIT email from NIAID. This is the more important of the two JIT emails, though its timing is variable and depends in part on NIAID’s budget situation. The content of the email will be similar to the example NIAID Request for Just-in-Time Information, but our staff may customize yours to include additional relevant items.

You must respond swiftly and as instructed to maximize your chance for a prompt award, especially if you need to resolve one of the issues described in the section below.

Note that a JIT request does not guarantee that your application will be funded. Until we are satisfied that your application meets all requirements and you’ve provided the necessary supplemental information, we will not make the award. Learn more about JIT at Respond to Pre-Award Requests (“Just-in-Time”) and in our Just-in-Time SOP.

Resolve Restrictions and Bars to Award

While most of the JIT information we request is routine, be aware that certain codes and comments in your summary statement can indicate a funding restriction or bar to award. As detailed in our Bars to Grant Awards SOP, such issues can block you from funding until you resolve underlying scientific review concerns for your application.

Start by comparing the codes shown in your summary statement with the following definitions:

You should also check the Resume section of your summary statement for any comments indicating reviewer concerns (e.g., biohazards) that could signal a bar or delay to award. Find more guidance at Know What a Summary Statement Means.

If you find a bar, restriction, or other concern in your summary statement or the NIAID JIT request, you should immediately start working with our staff to resolve the issues. Prompt action is critical since some problems can take weeks to resolve. Follow staff instructions and the guidance in NIAID’s Bars and Restrictions to Grant Awards—Human Subjects SOP and Bars to Grant Awards—Research Animals SOP

After you resolve any restrictions or bars to award, return to preparing your other required JIT information (e.g., certifications and current other support). Find more examples in the standard NIAID Request for Just-in-Time Information. Your program officer or grants management specialist may also request additional information that is specific to your award.

Delays Can Jeopardize Your Funding

As quickly as possible, use the JIT feature of the eRA Commons Status module to provide all requested JIT items and respond to NIAID’s information requests. For inclusion, human subjects, and animal concerns, NIAID will not issue an award until you’ve addressed the underlying issue.

NIAID staff work under a strict timeline to make all awards before the end of the fiscal year. Especially in late spring and summer, you must respond swiftly and provide all necessary information to ensure that NIAID staff can process your award before it’s too late.

If you fail to comply or take too long, NIAID may remove your application from funding consideration.

Check NIAID’s Just-in-Time SOP for more guidance. Direct any questions about award issues or the JIT process to your assigned program officer or grants management specialist.

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