Listen to NIH Podcast on Reporting Your Scientific Progress

Funding News Edition: September 20, 2023
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If you have 11 minutes to spare, get a refresher on Reporting Your Scientific Progress from the August 16, 2023 episode of the NIH All About Grants Podcast. The hosts David Kosub (NIH Office of Extramural Research) and Dr. Tom Cheever (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) shared an overview and guidance on how you should report progress on NIH grants. We summarize the episode here; you can also check the Transcript

Progress reports are an important—and required—element of proper grant stewardship, transparency, and policy compliance. There are three types of Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR):

  • Your annual RPPR describes your progress from the prior budget period, usually the previous year.
  • The final RPPR is part of the grant closeout process. It covers the annual progress and also final project outcomes.
  • If you submit a renewal (type 2) application before the end of your project period, your application includes an interim RPPR in lieu of a separate final RPPR.

Dr. Cheever’s comments focused on the Accomplishments Section B of your RPPR:

  • Describe what you did during the past budget period, focusing on your key accomplishments.
  • While high-level overviews may be sufficient, Dr. Cheever encourages you to provide details on the most important aspects of your project.
  • NIH understands that research challenges are part of the process. You should describe what worked, what didn’t, and your process for troubleshooting and coming up with alternative approaches.
  • If you received administrative supplement funds, be sure to summarize your associated scientific progress in the parent grant’s RPPR.
  • Check your Notice of Award for any special RPPR requirements (e.g., frequency or elements to include).

Your NIH program officer (PO) will evaluate your RPPR and may ask you for clarifications. Dr. Cheever listed a few examples of things POs typically check for:

  • Tangible indicators of your progress on the grant’s Specific Aims—e.g., experiments or steps completed, increased sample size or recruitment, or publications.
  • Your compliance with NIH policies, regulations, and Terms of Award—e.g., public access and publication reporting, human subjects and vertebrate animals considerations, changed or new foreign components, and other relevant requirements.

Be sure your RPPR encapsulates the most recent project period with a fresh summary. If your report text seems identical to last year, your PO will check with you to confirm whether that similarity is due to a submission error or lack of progress.

Remember, we will not issue the next year’s funding for a grant until the annual RPPR is submitted to NIH and approved. If you delay in submitting the annual RPPR, it may result in a delay in receiving the next year’s award or transitioning to future phases of the award.

To learn more about RPPRs:

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