When you use an old application as the starting point for a new (A0) application, the A0 must not reference any previous applications or reviews—if it does, NIH will withdraw it without a review.
NIH clarifies this point and some others in Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Resubmissions of NIH Applications. For NIH's explanation of when an application would be withdrawn from review for not being “new,” see Question B8.
The updated FAQs also provide examples of how to properly reference earlier research without making your A0 application sound like a resubmission (A1).
Here are some tips based on their examples.
- 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.
- Revise and improve your application based on lessons learned from the previous review, but don't mention the review in any way.
- Your application must not have an introduction to address reviewer comments or describe how it was changed.
- Don't highlight or otherwise mark text that changed from the previous application.
- Other parts of the application shouldn't address or mention the previous review, either.
- Remind your collaborators that letters of support should not refer to previous submissions or reviews. For applications requiring reference letters, remind your referees that these letters should not include any references to a previous application or review.
One FAQ emphasizes that your A0 should use the receipt date for new applications, not the deadline for resubmission, renewal, or revision applications. Other FAQs explain when and whether you should withdraw an application.
Remember, if your A0 does not contain significant improvements from your unfunded A0 or A1, a different outcome is not likely.
For more on this topic, see Revise and Resubmit an Application.
You might also be interested in our August 3, 2016 article “New Submissions of Unfunded Resubmissions Find Success at Normal Rate.”