Brush Up on Types of Overlap and Other Support for NIH Grant Funding

Funding News Edition: October 19, 2022
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Applicants and award recipients, did you know that there are three areas of overlap that you need to address as part of the process of applying for and receiving an award? Overlap may be scientific, budget, or commitment related. To resolve concerns around overlap, you’ll need to provide Other Support information as part of the Just-in-Time (JIT) process that occurs after peer review when NIAID considers making an award. 

Here are definitions and guidance for each type of overlap:

Scientific Overlap occurs when substantially similar research is proposed in more than one application; is submitted to two or more different funding sources for review and funding consideration; or a specific research objective and the experimental design for accomplishing that objective are the same or closely related in two or more pending applications or awards, regardless of funding source.

While there is no administrative requirement that the science in an application be substantively different from any previously reviewed submission, applicants are not allowed to have duplicates or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time, per Submission of Resubmission Application. Consult with a program officer if you are unsure whether your potential application would be substantially similar to a pending application.

NIH monitors for scientific overlap through automated eRA system checks upon application receipt. The check uses text-mining software to flag when two NIH applications appear to be redundant, then NIH staff manually review the issue. For a concurrent, overlapping application to a non-NIH source, we rely on the applicant to report any pending support during the JIT process.

Budget Overlap occurs when duplicate or equivalent budgetary items (e.g., equipment, salary) are requested in an application but are already funded by another source.

NIH checks for budget overlap during the pre-award process as part of the JIT process, which is when an applicant provides Other Support Information. After peer review—if your application is selected for funding—you will detail both active and pending Other Support. To do so, you should follow the instructions listed for “Part III Section 1.8 Other Support” in the NIH Other Support Instructions.

As you complete the JIT process, be clear and specific about your Other Support by including your suggested solutions for potential budget overlap as this will be very helpful during our evaluation of the Other Support. NIAID may adjust your level of support if your Other Support will cause overlap upon award. Should this happen, we will attempt to negotiate with you if doing so will allow a viable award to be made after removing overlap.

Commitment Overlap occurs when any project-supported personnel have time commitments (i.e., percent effort) exceeding 100 percent (or 12 person months), regardless of how the effort/salary is being supported or funded.

NIH also checks for commitment overlap post-application either after NIAID’s request or if your application scores within or near the NIAID Payline. Applicants need to outline any potential commitment overlap to NIAID staff and detail how they would adjust for overlap if their application is funded.

Taking the application and JIT submission together, NIAID staff will confirm that no key personnel will exceed a 100 percent level of effort.

Notes on Detailing Other Support 

Other Support includes all resources made available to a researcher in support of and/or related to all his or her research endeavors, regardless of whether the support has monetary value and whether the support is based at the institution the researcher identifies for the current grant. This also includes any research support from a foreign institution or government, foreign support for students or post-docs, and any faculty or other appointments at a foreign institution.

NIAID usually asks for Other Support information as part of the JIT process after peer review but before making an award. If you send Other Support information before we request it, NIH may delay processing your application or return it without initial peer review.

Prior to peer review, you do not need to account for Other Support in the budget form of the application. Apply as you would if you did not have Other Support, justifying each Specific Aim of your research proposal and requesting the amount of funding appropriate to carry out those Aims.

Through your grant’s project period, NIAID will continue to monitor for overlap. If you anticipate new funding or Other Support that would cause overlap, notify your award’s assigned grants management specialist before the overlap occurs. Additionally, you will identify any Changes in Other Support upon annual submission of the Research Performance Progress Report.

For more information and advice go to Respond to Pre-Award Requests (“Just-in-Time") and NIAID Request for Just-In-Time Information.

Related Resources

Here is more information on overlap in applications and Other Support:

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