Pending Support Includes Submitted Applications Not Yet Reviewed

Funding News Edition: July 07, 2022
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Research integrity is an important part of the application process as breaches of review integrity violate core values of NIH peer review. Concerns around review integrity not only compromise the peer review process but can also negatively affect funding decisions, compromise proprietary information, harm patients in clinical studies, and cause the public to lose trust in scientific research.

In a June 1, 2022 peer review integrity case study, Dr. Mike Lauer, NIH’s deputy director for extramural research discussed what you and your institution should keep in mind when submitting applications proposing similar research projects to multiple funders.

A Scenario To Consider

Dr. Doe has come up with a great research idea and has identified NIH and another federal agency as possible funders. To maximize the odds of success for the planned project, Dr. Doe and her institutional grants office prepared two nearly identical applications and submitted them to both agencies, hoping at least one will fund it. The other agency found the application to be meritorious and approved it for funding. Later, separately, NIH did the same.

At the time of submission, Dr. Doe and her institution certified in the Other Support section of the NIH application that “no overlap” exists because the application to the other federal agency had not yet been selected for funding. This meant that the project was funded twice and neither Dr. Doe nor her institution informed NIH about the scientific overlap in the two identical applications and the duplicate funding decisions.

While it is true that there is no NIH policy against sending the same application to two potential sources of funding, there are still policies in place that require disclosure of scientific overlap in separate applications, including those pending support. When applicants knowingly affirm in the Other Support section that no scientific or budgetary overlap exists between virtually identical applications submitted to different agencies, they are being dishonest.

As described at Prepare Your Other Support Submission on NIAID’s Respond to Pre-Award Requests (“Just-in-Time”) page, we may reduce your award if there are overlap issues.

Learn what actions NIH would take in response to Dr. Doe’s duplicate applications in the Case Study in Research Integrity: Double, Double, Toil, and Trouble on Dr. Lauer’s Open Mike blog.

For more information on overlapping applications and duplicative funding, read the Evaluation of Unallowable Resubmission and Overlapping Applications on the NIH Center of Scientific Review website.

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