NIAID Funding News March 19, 2014

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles. 

Syndication in Seven Easy Steps

For readers who’d prefer to spend less time maintaining Web sites, NIAID has a helpful new tool available: syndication. Syndication allows you to easily place self-updating NIAID content on your own Web pages.

For example, suppose your institution wants to list NIAID Paylines on its Web site. Rather than routinely updating the page each time NIAID posts new interim paylines, you can use syndication to allow those updates to occur automatically. Here’s how:

Step 1: Visit Content Syndication. You will need to create an account if you haven’t already.

Step 2: Find the page you want to syndicate. There are a few ways to do so:

  • Search for the page by URL on the Find a Specific Page lookup.
  • Browse content syndication topics alphabetically.
  • Browse syndication pages in order of popularity.

Step 3: When you find the page you want, click the “Add to List” option located in the far right column. If the page you want isn’t available, you can Request a Page to be Syndicated.

Step 4: Click “Your List” on the top right of the page.

Step 5: Select the page you want to use from Your Syndication List and choose “Get Code.”

Step 6: Copy the code. There are several output formats and mapping options available to choose from.

Step 7: Add the code to your Web page.

Now your Web site will automatically reflect any changes to the NIAID Paylines page!

Here are some more examples of how you can use syndication:

Since this tool is brand new, a limited number of NIAID Web pages are currently available. Check back frequently, as more will be added every week.

Related Resources

Header: Opportunities and Resources.

An Abundance of HIV-Related Funding Opportunities

The last day of February was a good one for HIV researchers. That's when NIH published several pairs of R01 and companion Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants (R21) funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) related to HIV prevention, treatment, and care.

We provide a brief look at them here, but for complete details, be sure to read the R01 and R21 Guide notices, links for which we provide in each of the following sections.

Improving Delivery of HIV Prevention and Treatment through Implementation Science and Translational Research

These FOAs seek projects that will help overcome a big obstacle: getting effective HIV interventions, such as testing and counseling, to the men, women, and children who need them.

Consider applying if your research can enhance:

  • The use of efficacious interventions—areas of interest include dissemination research and research syntheses to inform public health decision-making.
  • The effectiveness and efficiency of evidence-based interventions—broad research areas include implementation science and operations research, comparative effectiveness research, and analysis of the impact of policy changes on public health outcomes.

For more information, see the R01 and R21 Guide notices.

Strengthening Adherence to Antiretroviral-Based HIV Treatment and Prevention

If your research addresses pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretroviral therapy (ART), these may be the FOAs for you.

Priority areas of interest include the importance, adequacy, determinants, and assessment and monitoring of PrEP and ART adherence. The overarching emphasis is on developing feasible interventions to improve and sustain PrEP or ART adherence that could be rapidly implemented in clinical, community, and policy environments to improve HIV treatment and prevention outcomes.

Your application must include a well-articulated theoretical or conceptual framework, and you should tailor interventions to relevant U.S. domestic and foreign populations.

Read the R01 and R21 Guide notices for full details.

Accelerating Improvements in the HIV Care Continuum

NIH issued these opportunities in response to President Obama's Executive Order—HIV Care Continuum Initiative, which focuses on the need to improve HIV testing, services, and treatment.

These FOAs seek innovative, interdisciplinary HIV care continuum research in a range of areas that include studies of the following:

  • Basic behavioral and social science factors related to HIV self-testing.
  • Innovative interventions to improve patients' long-term retention in medical care.
  • The multi-level factors that influence behaviors after a negative HIV test.

A key component of your application should be collaborations between the scientific and service entities in communities. Your research team must have academic and Department of Health partnerships to optimize the match of the research directions with local needs, as well as the public health impact of the research implementation and findings.

Learn more in the R01 and R21 Guide notices.

Targeted Basic Behavioral and Social Science and Intervention Development for HIV Prevention and Care

Is your research designed to cover these three bases? If so, you should think about applying.

  1. Conduct basic behavioral and social science research that is needed to advance the development of HIV prevention and care interventions.
  2. Translate and operationalize the findings from these basic studies to develop interventions and assess their feasibility.
  3. Conduct tests of the efficacy of HIV prevention and care interventions.

The FOAs provide several examples of research areas of interest, but here are just a few of them: studies to increase intervention potency and durability; studies to advance combination behavioral-biomedical intervention approaches; and targeted basic behavioral and social science research to identify and quantify social and behavioral determinants associated with HIV acquisition, transmission and care.

Find other topic areas and other FOA details in the R01 and R21 Guide notices.

Advancing Structural Level Interventions Through Enhanced Understanding of Social Determinants in HIV Prevention and Care

These opportunities seek projects that propose to understand and address social determinants associated with preventing and treating HIV.

Your application may fit the bill if you propose basic social science or intervention research that aims to:

  • Identify factors that underlie social determinants associated with risk for HIV acquisition or negative HIV care and treatment outcomes at the individual or population levels.
  • Identify mechanisms (e.g., coping, social networks) associated with desired HIV prevention or HIV disease outcomes despite exposure to negative social, economic, or legal conditions.
  • Design multi-level, structural interventions to minimize the negative effects of social determinants.

Read the R01 and R21 Guide notices for more information.

On a Final Note

Here are a couple of points to keep in mind.

Due dates

Application deadlines follow standard AIDS due dates for all the FOAs.

R21 Info

If you apply to any of the R21 opportunities, be aware that exploratory/developmental grants support novel scientific ideas or new model systems, tools, or technologies that have the potential for significant impact on biomedical or biobehavioral research.

To learn more, check the helpful resources on the Types of Funding Opportunities portal.

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Opportunity for Small Business Concerns and Academic Institutions Working on HIV/AIDS

If you’re interested in applying for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant and you work on HIV/AIDS, check out two new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs): Innovative Technologies and Assays in Support of HIV Cure Research (ITAS-Cure), which use either the R41/42 or R43/44 mechanisms.

These FOAs encourage you to focus on developing sensitive and quantitative assays, methods, or imaging techniques. This includes the development or novel applications of imaging agents or probes that can be applied to measuring residual HIV reservoirs in HIV-positive individuals who are on effective antiretroviral therapy.

Applicants should provide a strong justification for why their technologies have the potential to become a marketable product, process, or service. In the case of Phase II, Fast-Track, and Phase II competing renewals, applicants should provide a strong Commercialization Plan that demonstrates clear product development pathway to commercialization.

NIH is particularly interested in next-generation tools and methods that can quantitate replication-competent virus or integrated provirus, or distinguish HIV-infected cells in situ. In addition, NIH would like to see quantitative methods and analytical tools that assess the viral load, either replication-competent or integrated provirus, in a reproducible manner to monitor the dynamic changes in persistent infection.

Academic institutions, you are welcome to apply, too—partner with a commercial company and apply for the STTR. Both the STTR and SBIR grants allow for a portion of the work to be subcontracted.

Note that standard AIDS due dates apply.

Also, read the following Guide notices for details:

Have questions? Contact Dr. Brigitte Sanders.

Header: Other News. 

Changes to Progress Reporting on the Horizon

It’s time to plan a switch to progress reporting using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). Currently, RPPR is required for streamlined non-competing award process (SNAP), fellowship, and multiyear funded awards. Federal Demonstration Partnership institutions have the option to use the RPPR for Type 5 non-SNAP progress reports.

Beginning on April 25, 2014, RPPR will open for all Type 5 non-SNAP progress reports as well. We anticipate that this optional change will become mandatory in the fall. Stay tuned for an announcement with the exact date for when this will become mandatory.

Start to familiarize yourself now with the RPPR format. For training and advice on preparing a non-SNAP RPPR, view the RPPR Phase II training on the NIH RPPR Web page (linked above). For more details, read the NIH RPPR Instruction Guide. Pay particular attention to instructions on how you will report:

  • Public access in Chapter 5.10;
  • Publications (called products in the RPPR) in Chapter 6.3;
  • Participants in Chapter 6.4;
  • Budget in Chapter 6.8;
  • Special requirements in Chapter 6.7;
  • and Multiproject RPPRs and single-project RPPRs with complicated structures in Chapter 7.6.

Until then, you can continue to use the PHS 2590 to submit Type 5 non-SNAP progress reports.

See the March 4, 2014, Guide notice for the full announcement.

Related Links

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Read Our Primer on Peer Review Service

Check out a new resource that shows you why you might want to become a peer reviewer and what you can do to join the ranks.

At NIH, you have several ways to get involved—some of which don't even require that you have NIH funding.

To learn more, go to Serving on a Peer Review Committee.

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News Briefs

Web Pages Updated with Latest Budget Information for FY 2014. Here's the list:

Header: Advice Corner.

Why Criterion Scores Don’t Add Up

The May 2014 review cycle marks the fifth anniversary of criterion scores in the peer review process, and yet there is still some confusion about how these scores are used.

To arrive at your overall impact/priority score, reviewers first consider the core review criteria: significance, innovation, investigator, approach, environment, and any additional funding opportunity-specific requirements. They then assign an overall impact/priority score. This deliberate approach anchors assessments and encourages consistent use of the scoring range.

Thus, while criterion scores and overall impact/priority scores are both numerical values, there is no mathematical formula linking the two.

NIAID funds the research it deems most likely to exert a sustained, powerful influence on its field. The overall impact/priority score reflects the review criteria as is appropriate for each opportunity and application.

Therefore an application does not need to be exceptionally strong in all of the review criteria to get an exceptional overall impact/priority score. For example, reviewers may give an application an outstanding overall impact/priority score due to its high significance and feasibility, even though it has only a good innovation score. Alternatively, a critical flaw in the study design may cast doubt on the likelihood that a proposal with strong significance and innovation can be realized, resulting in a marginal overall impact/priority score.

In the case of multiproject applications (e.g., P01s and U19s), strong synergy among projects often leads to an overall impact/priority score for the entire proposal that is greater than the scoring average of the individual components.

Criterion scores are provided for all applications. However, only applications that are discussed receive overall impact/priority scores. The criterion scores reflect the views of the assigned reviewers, while your overall impact/priority score reflects the scores of all the panel members who voted. Therefore, it’s important to read the resume and summary of the discussion in the summary statement as well as the comments from individual reviewers.

Criterion scores can also help investigators earn higher overall impact/priority scores upon resubmission. By understanding which criteria scored poorly, investigators can better target areas for improvement.

To learn more about the mechanics of the peer review process, see Scoring & Summary Statements.

Related Links

Header: Reader Questions. 

Feel free to send us a question at After responding to you, we may include your question in the newsletter, incorporate it into the NIAID Research Funding site, or both.

"Can I choose who reviews my grant application?"—anonymous reader

No. You may request a study section in a cover letter to your application. You may not request individual reviewers—if you do, they will be automatically disqualified!

Consider listing the scientific expertise needed to understand your project, proposed experimental approach, and preliminary data. For more information on cover letters, see Write a Cover Letter.

For advice on anticipating who will review your application, see Know Your Audience .

Tell your scientific review officer if you see a reviewer who cannot give your application an impartial review, as explained in Application Assigned to a Review Group.

"What is person months, and how is it calculated?"—anonymous reader

Person months is the metric for expressing the effort that PIs, faculty, and other senior personnel devote to a specific project.

To calculate person months, multiply the percentage of your time associated with the project by the number of months of your appointment. See Percent of Time and Effort to Person Months Calculator for further instruction and examples.

Header: New Funding Opportunities.

See other announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

Content last reviewed on March 19, 2014