NIAID Funding News - September 21, 2016

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Feature Articles

Explore NIAID’s New Website and Features

Here’s the scoop on NIAID’s recent website overhaul, which updated usability, visual design, content, and our technology platform. We’ve optimized the NIAID website to display on computers, tablets, and mobile devices. 

The new site’s structure and presentation also give easier access to key topics such as NIAID research, grants, and contracts.

To optimize the improvements and determine the new site structure, we conducted multiple types of usability testing and user interviews, as well as analyzed site usage data. We’ll continue those testing efforts as we adjust the website further in the coming year.

Learn how links have changed and how to navigate the site, then explore to see what’s new.

New Site, New Links

Most URLs (https:// website addresses) on the NIAID website have changed. The new URLs are typically shorter than the old ones, making them easier to type or share.

If your browser bookmarks, websites, or documents include old links to NIAID, now is the time to update. Use the site search or navigation to find the modern equivalent of the page you want.

If you were syndicating NIAID content to your website, see HHS’s Syndication Storefront for NIAID to see what we offer now.

How to Navigate

As part of the update, we retooled how content is presented through different sizes of web browsers:

  • Larger screen (desktop or larger tablet). Look for the blue menu bar at the top of every page. It lists the major areas of the site. Click an area’s name, then choose a subsection.
  • Smaller screen (phone or smaller tablet). Select the standard menu icon showing three horizontal bars, then choose an area and a subsection.

As a navigation example, many researchers visited our old Research Funding section. To find the new equivalent, use the navigation element labeled “Grants & Contracts” at the top of the NIAID website. There you’ll see the following major subsections:

Select your topic of choice and you’ll get navigation options for that area.

In the Grants & Contracts area, most topics are organized by stage of the process. If you’re looking for our public SOPs, they’re now in a new section: Research Rules & Policies.

You can also find some of our most popular content right on the NIAID homepage. There you’ll find quick access to Opportunities & Announcements, Paylines, Salary Cap & Stipends, and Timelines & Due Dates.

Note: if you use Internet Explorer 11, you may not be able to copy and paste text from the website. We hope this will be fixed soon, but meanwhile you can copy and paste using Chrome, Firefox, or another web browser.

Get Help, Offer Feedback

Want help finding a page? Do you have a comment on the site’s new look and content? Use the Contact Us form. If you have questions specific to the Grants & Contracts section, extramural SOPs, broken links in funding opportunity announcements, or Division of Extramural Activities contact information, email instead.

Opportunities and Resources

New R01 Opportunity To Research HIV Persistence in Infants

To elucidate novel strategies for HIV-1 remission, we need to increase our knowledge of the pathogenesis of perinatal HIV-1 infection, especially as it pertains to the establishment of HIV-specific immune responses and viral reservoirs. While clinical trials of early infant treatment to induce remission are underway, more basic studies of neonatal immune response and the establishment of latent reservoirs in perinatal HIV-1 infection are needed.

Through a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA), NIAID will support research to examine unique aspects of this research area. Our specific areas of interest include:

  • Developing the infant immune system and age-dependent maturation of innate and adaptive immune responses to HIV-1 infection
  • Acquiring and developing broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 in early life
  • Mucosal immune responses to HIV-1 infection
  • Role of immune activation, inflammation, and their mediators in various tissues or microbiomes on HIV-1 persistence in infants
  • Viral and host cellular factors and functions involved in the persistence of HIV-1 infection
  • Contribution of latency and low-level ongoing replication to HIV-1 persistence
  • Latent reservoir dynamics, including association of duration of viral suppression in relation to time of infection, rate of viral decay, and immune status
  • Contributions of immunity on the size of the latent reservoir and immunological biomarkers in the prediction of viral rebound

This FOA does not require extensive preliminary data or a proven track record in neonatal immunology, and encourages highly innovative studies.

We also encourage research with human cells and tissues, although studies using appropriately justified infant animal models are acceptable.

Note, however, that applications proposing clinical trials or epidemiological studies will be deemed nonresponsive and not reviewed, with one exception: use of human samples obtained in clinical trials funded through independent mechanisms is allowed. In fact, we recommend you use the ACTG/IMPAACT Specimen Repository to obtain human samples.

Application budgets are not capped, but your request needs to reflect the actual needs of your proposed project. The maximum project period is five years.

The deadline to apply is December 7, 2016.

See the August 5, 2016 Guide announcement for complete details.

Another Opportunity To Participate in the Asthma and Allergic Diseases Program

NIAID has reissued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) calling for applicants to join the Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Centers (AADCRC) program. Established more than 45 years ago, AADCRC has been integral in promoting innovative, multidisciplinary clinical and basic research on asthma and allergic diseases.

The FOA, which uses the U19 activity code, seeks highly integrated and synergistic research programs to study the mechanisms underlying the onset and progression of diseases such as asthma, rhinitis (allergic and non-allergic), chronic rhinosinusitis, atopic dermatitis, food allergy, and drug allergy.

The initiative’s ultimate goal is to better understand the pathogenesis of these conditions and provide a rational foundation for new, effective treatment and prevention strategies.

Your Proposed Research

To stress the integration and focus of applications on human disease, the majority of the proposed research within each application should be defined as NIH human subjects research (see Am I Proposing Human Subjects Research?) or use human material, including primary human cells, biologic samples, and clinical data.

Your application should propose highly integrated and synergistic research. NIAID is especially interested in projects focused on the following aspects of asthma, allergic rhinitis, food allergy, and atopic dermatitis:

  • The role of innate and adaptive immune functions in development and pathogenesis
  • The impact of the microbiome and pollution on immune responses as they pertain to development, prevention, and management
  • The interaction between infections and atopy and the role of immune responses to infections in development and exacerbations
  • Induction and understanding of the mechanisms of desensitization and sustained tolerance for treatment and prevention
  • Genetic variations and epigenetic alterations affecting host immune responses to aeroallergens, food allergens, and drug allergens
  • Clinical, immunologic, and physiologic phenotyping and endotyping

Applications that propose the following types of research will be deemed nonresponsive and not reviewed:

  • Research on autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases
  • Research on primary immune deficiency diseases
  • Demonstration and education research projects
  • Phase III clinical trials
  • Clinical trials at foreign sites
  • Continuation of ongoing (active) clinical trials. You may propose only new clinical trials.
  • Applications in which human research is not the primary focus
  • Research on HIV or AIDS

Application Components

In addition to the overall summary component of the application, you'll need to include the components listed below. Remember, component projects and cores within a single application should relate to not only a central theme relevant to the specified diseases of interest, but also the other components within the same application.

Administrative Core: headed by the project director/principal investigator (PD/PI) who is responsible for the overall management, communication, coordination, and supervision of the Program.

Research Projects: must contain at least two research projects organized around a common theme or hypothesis, with demonstrated synergy among the research projects, administrative core, and optional service cores.

Service Cores (Optional): Clinical Core, Data Management Core, or other similar Cores may be proposed if they support the Center as a whole and directly support at least two of the proposed research projects.

Note that PDs/PIs funded under this program will form a Steering Committee after award that will serve as the main governing body for the cooperative group.

Find More Information

Get full details on the FOA in the August 10, 2016 Guide announcement. Optional letters of intent are due March 3, 2017. The application deadline is April 3, 2017. If you have questions, direct them to Dr. Gang Dong, the scientific/research contact listed in the FOA.

Application budgets are limited to $900,000 in annual direct costs. Your proposed project period cannot exceed five years.

To learn more about the AADCRC program, including current projects, go to Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Centers.

Find additional information about multiproject grants in our Multiproject Research (P, U) Applications.

NIAID Joins NIGMS Initiative To Fund Centers for HIV/AIDS-Related Structural Biology

A reissued funding opportunity will help institutions establish or maintain Centers devoted to structural determination and functional characterization of macromolecular complexes among and between components of HIV and host cells.

The fundamental effectors of viral reproduction and proliferation are the assembly and disassembly of multiple macromolecular complexes among components of the virus and the host cell. This includes the interplay of viral proteins among themselves and with the cellular machinery, the activity of viral enzymes, and the usurpation of host factors to achieve replication.

Through this initiative, we aim to support research Centers dedicated to high resolution structural and functional/dynamic characterization of these complexes.

Keep in mind, this opportunity uses the Specialized Center (P50) activity code, so, in addition to the specific research projects you will carry out, you will need to discuss in your application the resource and management plans that will allow your center to push the field forward.

Your proposed Center must:

  • Be capable of structure determination, using routine (e.g., X-ray crystallography) and advanced (e.g., mass spectrometry) methods as befits the scope of your planned research.
  • Have a specific theme within the broader biology of HIV replication and host cell interactions. By focusing on one particular aspect, Centers will better achieve a comprehensive structural analysis that can then be capitalized effectively for therapeutic strategies.
  • Collaborate with the biomedical research community. Specifically, funded Centers are encouraged to formally collaborate with one another, NIH-funded Centers for AIDS Research, and the NIAID-funded Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology. Timely submission of structural information to appropriate data-sharing databases is required.
  • Establish a collaborative development program to serve as a mechanism for soliciting and awarding development grants, which should target early stage investigators.
  • Include a technology effort to advance the state-of-the-art in structure determination and dynamics, especially new technologies and methodologies to advance drug design.
  • Be organized primarily around projects; where multiple or complementary expertise is required, project investigators and other collaborators will work in concert. Establish cores as necessary to provide services or facilities vital to the efforts of one or more projects.

Each Center will appoint an advisory committee, to meet at least once a year, in consultation with and subject to the approval of National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) program staff. NIGMS will also appoint an advisory committee to oversee the operation of the entire network, which will meet annually.

Application budgets are limited to $3.2 million in annual direct costs. The maximum project period is five years.

Letters of intent are December 9, 2016. The application deadline is January 9, 2017.

See the August 10, 2016 Guide announcement for complete details.

NIAID Reissues a Pair of Investigator-Initiated FOAs

Next time you submit an investigator-initiated program project (P01) or resource-related research project (R24) grant application, be sure to use the newly reissued “parent” funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) to do so. Here, we’ll quickly review the purpose of both FOAs.

Program Project (P01) Grant

The NIAID Investigator-Initiated Program Project Applications (P01) FOA allows investigators to group two or more related research projects that share a common central theme, focus, or overall objective. To be successful, your application must emphasize the synergy among the individual projects that give the research ideas, efforts, and outcomes of the program a distinct advantage over the individual projects were they to be completed separately.

Nevertheless, each project must be capable of standing on its own scientific merit while still complementing the program’s other projects and overall objectives. Further, each individual research project should reflect a distinct, separate, scientifically meritorious research effort led by an independent investigator, the Project Leader.

An administrative core to oversee all of the projects is required. You can also propose one or more scientific cores, to allow the projects to use common resources.

See our tutorial on Multiproject Research (P, U) Applications for additional guidance on completing P01 grant applications.

Note that clinical trials, as defined in the October 23, 2014 Guide notice, are not allowed.

Application budgets are not limited but should reflect the needs of your proposed program. Remember, applications with budgets of $500,000 or more in annual direct costs must undergo NIAID’s big grants approval process, as explained in the Big Grants SOP. The maximum project period is five years.

Ultimately, the best way to begin a P01 grant application is to contact a program officer—Martin Gutierrez for the Division of AIDS (DAIDS), Dr. Cheryl Lapham for Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation (DAIT), or Dr. Karen Lacourciere for Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID).

Resource-Related Research Project (R24) Grant

The NIAID Resource-Related Research Projects (R24) FOA seeks applications that propose to develop resources to serve biomedical research. Resource-related research is a non-hypothesis-driven activity to provide data, materials, tools, or services that are essential to making the most timely, high quality, and cost-efficient progress in a field.

Under rare circumstances, this mechanism may be used to support the development of a new resource for NIAID’s broader scientific community.

Highly competitive applicants will propose to develop resources that do not duplicate resources available commercially or through other sources. Further, the proposed resource should be highly quality-controlled, replenishable, and available to any qualified investigator.

It’s difficult to assess whether a given resource meets NIAID’s criteria for this grant, so start by contacting a program officer for help—Martin Gutierrez for DAIDS, Dr. Joseph Breen for DAIT, or Dr. Maureen Beenan for DMID.

Application budgets are not limited but should reflect the needs of your proposed project. The maximum project period is five years.

In The News

NIH Refines Policies on Appendix and Post-Submission Materials

Two recently announced policy changes, covering application appendix and post-submission materials, will go into effect for applications due on or after January 25, 2017.

Appendix Materials

NIH aims to reduce the use of appendix materials, with two goals in mind: to reduce the burden on peer reviewers and to prevent applicants from submitting inappropriate or excessive materials in their application appendices.

The list of allowable appendix materials has been reduced to the following items.

  • For applications proposing clinical trials (unless the FOA provides other instructions for these materials):
    • Clinical trial protocols
    • Investigator's investigational new drug brochure, as appropriate
  • For all applications:
    • Blank informed consent/assent forms
    • Blank surveys, questionnaires, data collection instruments
    • FOA-specified items—if appendix materials are required in the FOA, the review criteria for that FOA will address those materials

Applications that include unallowable appendix materials will be withdrawn and not reviewed.

For more information, read the August 12, 2016 Guide notice.

Post-Submission Materials

NIH also created a list of allowable post-submission materials. Previously the policy emphasized that the only post-submission materials NIH will accept are those resulting from an unforeseen event.

That principle still applies, but NIH now provides a list of allowable post-submission materials.

  • For all applications:
    • Revised budget pages (e.g., due to new institutional acquisition of equipment)
    • Biographical sketches (e.g., due to the hiring, replacement, or loss of an investigator)
    • Letters of support or collaboration due to the hiring, replacement, or loss of an investigator
    • Adjustments resulting from natural disasters
    • Adjustments resulting from change of institution
    • News of professional promotion or positive tenure decision for any program director/principal investigator (PD/PI) or Senior/Key Personnel
    • Approval by the NIH Stem Cell Registry of a human embryonic cell line after application submission (see NOT-OD-12-111)
    • Videos that demonstrate devices and experimental data with a temporal element or demonstrate movement or change (see NOT-OD-12-141)
    • Other post-submission materials specified in the FOA
    • News of an article accepted for publication since application submission, which must include only:
      • List of authors and institutional affiliations
      • Title of the article
      • Journal or citation (if available)
  • For training (T) grant applications:
    • News of graduation, employment, promotion, funding, or publications for trainees
    • News of a faculty member's promotion, funding, or publications
    • Addition or removal of a faculty member who will be involved in the training program
  • For fellowship (F) and career development (K) grant applications:
    • News of sponsor/mentor funding (limited to the project title, funding source, a brief description of Specific Aims, and relevance to the application under review)
    • News of change in mentors or other Senior/Key Personnel listed in the original application
  • Conference grant (R13, U13) applications:
    • An explanation of all speakers who accepted invitations to participate in the proposed conference after the application was submitted
    • An explanation of all speakers who declined such invitations after the application was submitted
    • Alternatively the PD/PI may submit an explanation for each plenary slot on the agenda

Additional Rules for Post-Submission Materials

All post-submission materials must conform to NIH policies on font size, margins, and paper size, including:

  • Any specified formats (e.g., budgets, biographical sketches) and page limits referenced in the application instructions
  • If post-submission material is not required on a specific format page and does not have a specified page limit, each explanation or letter is limited to one page
  • If the application has multiple components (subprojects or cores), each subproject or core is allowed explanations or letters, but each explanation or letter is limited to one page

The scientific review officer (SRO) must receive post-submission materials no fewer than 30 calendar days before the peer review meeting, unless otherwise stated in the FOA. For example, many requests for applications list due dates for post-submission materials that differ from the general rule of 30 calendar days before the peer review meeting.

Concurrence from the authorized organizational representative (AOR) of the applicant organization is required—the AOR must send the materials directly to the SRO or must send his/her concurrence to the PI who will forward the materials and concurrence to the SRO. A communication from the PI with the AOR copied does not suffice.

Finally, post-submission materials can be submitted only as a PDF attachment. The SRO is responsible for uploading acceptable materials into the official electronic grant file maintained in eRA Commons.

See the August 12, 2016 Guide notice for complete details.

Send NIH Feedback on Biomedical Digital Repositories

A recent NIH Data and Informatics Working Group (DIWG) report stressed that changes in biomedical research technologies and methods have shifted the bottleneck in scientific productivity from data production to data management, communication, and interpretation.

Further, the increasing size and volume of biomedical data has led to increasing demand on biomedical data repositories. As research institutions begin to implement federal policies requiring them to share research data gathered with the support of public funds, data repositories are growing in number, scale, and complexity.

The goal of NIH data management and sharing is to make publicly funded data broadly accessible as to support reuse, reproducibility, and discovery while simultaneously balancing costs and benefits. Toward that end, NIH has issued a request for information to solicit public feedback on the topic of value assessment metrics.

Metrics to Assess Value of Biomedical Digital Repositories

NIH seeks information about existing and desired approaches for measuring and assessing the value of biomedical data repositories, specifically qualitative and quantitative metrics that demonstrate:

  • Data repository quality and impact
  • Utilization, at multiple levels (repository, dataset, data item)
  • Quality of service
  • Infrastructure and governance
  • Data repository value

To submit a response, email by September 30, 2016. Include the August 12, 2016 Guide notice number NOT-OD-16-133 in the subject line. 

See the notice for complete details, including examples of the metrics listed above.

News Briefs

NIAID Adds Second Submission Deadline for T32, T35 Grants

NIAID will now accept training grant applications twice annually—AIDS-related applications are due January 7 and May 7, while non-AIDS applications are due September 25 and January 25.  However this does not include January 7, 2017. Read the Institutional Research Training Grant (Parent T32) and Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grant (Parent T35) to learn more.

Institutional Officials: Verify Award Data Before October 13

On October 13, the federal government will freeze its fiscal year 2016 data. Before then, be sure to review whether your awarded grants are accurately assigned to the correct department/school within eRA Commons, since that information is used in tools like RePORT for year-end reporting. Signing officials can make corrections as needed using the Reassign Grant feature in eRA Commons.

Explore the BD2K Website for Data Science Opportunities

Investigators working in the field of data science should bookmark the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) page All Research Funding Announcements. NIAID is participating in three open BD2K opportunities: a cooperative agreement focused on digital curation; a research resource grant on developing data and metadata standards; and an education project grant that aims to enhance diversity in biomedical big data science.

You Can Now Withdraw an Application Through eRA Commons

Your institution's authorized organizational representative (AOR) or signing official (SO) can now submit requests to withdraw a processed application using the eRA Commons Prior Approval module. NIH's Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will review and act on all withdrawal requests. Using eRA Commons is optional—your AOR/SO can still send a letter with ink signature as an email attachment to CSR at See the September 8, 2016 Guide notice for details.

If you're wondering why an applicant might choose to withdraw an application, check out the "If You Want to Withdraw After Submitting" section of Submit an Application.

Advice Corner

Remember To Address Rigor and Reproducibility in Your Next Application

The next standard due date for new investigator-initiated R01 applications is October 5; as you make final touches to your grant application, take a moment to confirm that your research strategy and resource authentication attachment fulfill the requirements and expectations of NIH’s Rigor and Reproducibility policy.

Alternatively, if you’re targeting the November 5 due date for investigator-initiated R01 resubmission applications, keep in mind that you must address rigor and reproducibility regardless of whether you did so in your previous submission.

The easiest way to get started is by reviewing NIH’s Rigor and Reproducibility in NIH Applications: Resource Chart. The chart nicely lays out the policy’s four areas of focus: scientific premise, scientific rigor, biological variables, and authentication. If your application overlooks any of those areas, rewrite the appropriate part of your application to address them.

It might also be helpful to consider the perspective of reviewers who will be assessing your application. NIH’s updated reviewer guidelines pose the following questions:

  • Is there a strong scientific premise for the project?
  • Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?
  • Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed?

Within that list, reviewers are asked to assess whether the application adequately accounts for sex as a variable. To understand how reviewers will decide whether or not this is a strength of your application, go to NIH’s Reviewer Guidance to Evaluate Sex as a Biological Variable (SABV).

See Reviewer Guidance on Rigor and Transparency: Research Project Grant and Mentored Career Development Applications for NIH’s complete instructions for reviewers. As noted in that guidance, Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources is an additional review consideration but does not contribute to the overall impact/priority score.

Finally, check out NIH’s Rigor and Reproducibility page to learn more about the policy itself, including policy news, blog posts, and additional resources.

Reader Questions

You can ask us a question at After responding, we may ask your permission to include your question in the newsletter.

“Can a principal investigator (PI) become the sole PI on a multi-PI grant if unforeseen circumstances prompt the removal of the other PI(s) from the grant?”—anonymous reader

Yes, but not without prior approval from NIAID. We will verify first that such a switch will not compromise the intent or feasibility of the grant, nor that the PI would exceed his or her maximum level of effort by taking on the additional responsibilities.

Ideally, you will have already addressed such unforeseen circumstances in your grant application's Leadership Plan. For example, you might include language that states "In the event that a PI cannot carry out his/her duties, a new PI will be recruited as a replacement at one of the participating institutions.”

“How do I show my previous tracking identification number on a resubmitted application?”—anonymous reader

First, check Application in Field 1. Then check Resubmission in Field 8. Next, in field 4.c. Previous Tracking ID, use your GRANT123456 number. But don’t add A0 to that number; just enter the original number.

For a resubmission, you should also put part of your old NIH application number in field 4.a. Include only the institute or center initials and the serial number of the previous application. For example, if your old number was 1R01CA987654-01, use CA987654 in the field. Again, don’t add A1 yourself—after your application gets through validations, NIH will add the A1 to differentiate this application from the older one.

For more information, review the instructions for this form at G.200 - SF 424 (R&R) Form.

New Funding Opportunities

See other announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.​​

Content last reviewed on September 20, 2016