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Create a New Application

Create a new (A0) application if your old one had bigger problems than could be addressed by a resubmission or if you've already resubmitted unsuccessfully. You may be able to reuse parts of your prior application.

Keep in mind that if you use an old application as the starting point for an A0 application, the A0 must not reference any previous applications or reviews—if it does, NIH will withdraw it without a review.

Before committing to a new application, you may want to assess your other Options if Your Application Isn't Funded as well.

Considerations for Creating a New Application

When you create a new (as opposed to a resubmitted) application, reviewers will not see the summary statement from the previous review, so you get a fresh start.

You could use much of your previous application's Research Strategy, but feel free to go in a completely new direction. Or, pivot off of an aspect your reviewers felt strongly about while relinquishing other parts.

NIH offers myriad ways to submit a new application, but all paths lead in two general directions: 1) propose the same or similar research, or 2) go in a new scientific direction.

If you propose the same or similar research, check in with your program officer and take a hard look at whether another attempt using the same or similar idea is likely to result in funding. We don't anticipate a substantial improvement in paylines, so don't factor that into your decision.

Keep in mind that even if you submit research ideas from an unfunded application, it may go to the same study section and reviewers are likely to remember it from before even though NIH instructs them to disregard previous similar applications.

Also, you won't have the benefit of an introduction to address the prior comments, as you would with a resubmission.

You might have to go in a different direction if your previous application scored poorly in significance.  

If you go in a new scientific direction, you can keep some or even most of your people, methods, animal models, and preliminary data if it helps you tackle a new scientific problem. This may be the only way to go if reviewers felt your application lacked significance.

Explore your research niche to find where in your field you can capitalize on your data, resources, and expertise. Read more at Build Your Team.

Also read your reviewer critique for clues, and see if you could build on the ideas your reviewers liked or new areas of research they mentioned (but do not refer to the previous review in your new application).

Your "To-Do" List

Regardless of what (if anything) you keep from your previous application, take the following steps as you plan your new one:

  • Wait to receive your summary statement for one application before sending another application proposing similar science. Otherwise, NIH may withdraw your new application for violating rules against overlap. Read more about this at NIH's Evaluation of Unallowable Resubmission and Overlapping Applications.
  • Strengthen your next submission of the application using reviewers' feedback in the summary statement, from your program officer, and from your mentoring colleagues.
  • Add the latest preliminary data and new publications.
    • You could present your work from the prior funding period as preliminary data or as a rationale for your newly proposed research. Don't include a Progress Report section or Progress Report Publication List from your prior Type 2 renewal in your new Type 1 (A0) application.
  • Ensure your application reflects the most current science.
  • Consider which study section and institute assignments you want for this application and make that request when you Use the PHS Assignment Request Form.
  • For letters of support and reference letters, remind your collaborators and referees, respectively, that their letters should not refer to previous submissions or reviews.
  • Get more advice from your program officer.

Choose Your Approach

NIH gives you three ways to submit a new application: by applying to the same NOFO, a different NOFO, or as part of a team science project.

Applying for the Same Notice of Funding Opportunity

When you apply again for the same notice of funding opportunity, you're starting a brand new application. General considerations when taking this approach:

  • Consider adjusting or completely overhauling your proposal as needed.
  • Treat your application as though you'd never submitted the research for NIH review.
    • Omit the introduction and, for renewals, a progress report.
    • Don't respond directly to comments from prior reviews. Just use them to improve your application.
    • Get any NIH approvals required before you submit your application, even if you did this for your previous application. For examples, see the Big Grants SOP and Conference Awards SOP.
  • Use the latest notice of funding opportunity and forms associated with your planned receipt date.
    • Re-read the directions, which may have changed since your previous application.
    • Submit to the receipt date for a new application, not the deadline for resubmission, renewal, or revision applications.
    • Confirm you still meet all eligibility criteria (e.g., for career stage or other qualifiers).

Applying to a Different Notice of Funding Opportunity

When you apply for a different notice of funding opportunity, you'll have to read the announcement carefully for page limits, application deadlines, eligibility criteria, budget requirements, participating institutes, and other important details.

Even though you may be familiar with a particular funding opportunity or activity code, always confirm by reading the announcement in case anything has changed. This may seem like an obvious point, but we regularly get applicants who cannot submit or have their applications withdrawn because they relied on outdated information.

Consider the following approaches and contact your program officer to discuss. Your decision depends on your application topic and the funding opportunities available when you apply. This list does not include every possibility.

  • Submit an investigator-initiated application after responding unsuccessfully to an RFA.
    • If you stay within the same activity code, you may not need to modify your application much other than to address weaknesses that reviewers identified.
    • Confirm that your research is allowed (e.g., clinical trials aren't allowed in many investigator-initiated funding opportunity announcements).
    • If you want your application assigned to NIAID, check the top of the NOFO to see that we are listed among the participating institutions.
    • Check whether you need any NIH approvals before you submit.
  • Respond to an RFA after unsuccessfully submitting an investigator-initiated application. 
    • Before writing your application, contact the program officer listed in the funding opportunity announcement to verify that your topic is responsive to the initiative and appropriate for NIAID. RFAs are specific about what research topics we will accept.
    • Make any changes necessary to align your application as closely as possible to the science being sought in the RFA.
  • Move from one type of program announcement (PA, PAR, or PAS) to another.
    • Note any institute-specific requirements.
    • Pay special attention to application deadlines, as some program announcements have special, non-standard due dates.
  • Switch to a different activity code. 
    • Check the objectives and characteristics of the new activity code you've selected. Activity codes often have drastically different purposes, and your application may not be suited for this approach.
    • Consider an example of switching activity codes that experienced investigators should be familiar with: using an unsuccessful R01's aims for an R21 application.
      • If you decide to go from an R01 to an R21, for instance, be aware of significant differences in project period, budget restrictions, review criteria, and page limits. Unless you're using the parent R21, NIAID may not participate and you might have special eligibility criteria.
      • To help mold your R01 into an R21, select a Specific Aim from your original application that is highly significant and likely to be doable within the R21's allowed time and budget. Also, we recommend having strong preliminary data to support the R21's research objectives, which tend to be more risky than an R01's.
      • For more R21 information, see the Small and Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants SOP.

Consult with your program officer on what to do. He or she may have insights into NIH funding plans or priorities that can help you decide what choice works best for your application.

As you write your application, follow the extensive information provided in the Apply for a Grant section.

Apply as Part of a Team Science Application

If it's not crucial that you are the sole PI on your grant, consider another approach: including your research in another investigator's application.

You could link up with another PI for a multiple PI application, where you'd be equal partners. For more on that, read Multiple Principal Investigators.

Or, look for an opportunity to join a program project application or other team science effort that could benefit from your work. While you wouldn't be the PI, you would conduct a significant research project. Learn more about how this works from the PI’s perspective at Build Your Team.

If you don’t end up creating a new application or the new application doesn’t get funded, you may want to assess your other Options if Your Application Isn't Funded.

Have Questions?

A program officer in your area of science can give you application advice, NIAID's perspective on your research, and confirmation that NIAID will accept your application.

Find contacts and instructions at When to Contact an NIAID Program Officer.

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