Skip to Main Content

Previous Tips

2008  2009  2010  2011  2012  2013  2014  2015  2016  2017  2018  2019  2020

[November 19, 2015] Can administrative and clerical staff be charged as direct costs? Yes, administrative and clerical staff can be charged as a direct cost only if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) Administrative or clerical services are integral to a project or activity;
(2) Individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity;
(3) Such costs are explicitly included in the budget or have the prior written approval of the Federal awarding agency; and
(4) The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs.

NIH prior approval is not required to rebudget funds for this direct cost item; a prior approval request would only need to be submitted when additional funds are requested for such a position. More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 11/19/2015]

[November 19, 2015] When should Principal Investigators (PIs) prepare responses for Just-In-Time (JIT) requests for their NIH applications? Applications receiving an impact score of 40 or less will receive an automated request to submit JIT information two weeks after the release of the impact score, regardless of the NIH Institute’s payline. PIs are advised to wait for the release of their summary statements and to discuss the likelihood of funding with the assigned program official before submitting JIT documents. The current NIH JIT policy is outlined in the NIH Notice NOT-OD-12-101 (see 'Reminder of Existing Just-in-Time Requirements'). More on Preparing your JIT [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 11/19/2015]
[October 15, 2015] Can Principal Investigators (PI) change their effort on competitive renewal applications to the NIH? Yes, unless the funding opportunity announcement requires a minimum level of effort, PIs can modify their effort commitment (increase or decrease) from the original grant. As with all submissions, the effort level should be commensurate with the research proposed. The budget justification should include enough information for reviewers to understand that the effort levels proposed are sufficient to conduct the research. More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 10/15/2015]

[September 17, 2015] What does it mean to be compliant with the new NIH biosketch policy? All biosketches included in NIH applications submitted for due dates on/after May 25, 2015 must be formatted per the instructions in the SF424 application guide, including:
•    Completing each section (A - Personal Statement; B – Positions and Honors; C – Contributions to Science; D – Research Support or Scholastic Performance)
•    Including no more than 5 contributions to science with no more than 4 citations per contribution
•    Ensuring that if you include the optional link to a full list of your published work in a site like My Bibliography that the URL is public, accessible without providing any login or personal information, and doesn’t link to websites that may violate page limit rules
•    Refraining from including information, such as preliminary data, that belongs elsewhere in the application
•    Following NIH guidance on font type, font size, paper size, and margins (See section 2.6 of application guide)
•    Using PDF format for your biosketch attachment
•    Limiting the length of your biosketch to 5 pages or less
Failure to follow the policy means NIH may withdraw your application from consideration (NOT-OD-15-095). More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 09/17/2015]
[June 18, 2015] Does the NIH allow special characters in application project titles and/or file names? The NIH does NOT allow special characters in application titles nor in names of associated files. Filename characters are validated and enforced by Valid file names may only include A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore (_), hyphen (-), space, and period. If special characters are included in applications’ project titles and/or file names, they can translate into garbled text in the assembled application at the eRA Commons, causing ERRORs and rejections. (The use of special characters and symbols in the body of your research plan is allowed and expected as needed.) More at NIH PDF Guidelines. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 06/18/2015; previously sent 01/30/14]

[June 18, 2015] Does InfoEd, the RU platform for grant submissions, correct file names to adhere to NIH requirements?
No.  Due to the growing number of submissions to various federal agencies that may each have very specific file name requirements, InfoEd no longer makes automated file name corrections.  Therefore it is important to make sure that file names follow sponsor guidelines to avoid submission errors. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 06/18/2015]
[April 16, 2015] How do I ensure all my publications that arose from NIH support are appropriately linked with the corresponding NIH award(s)? All publications that are reported in a grant’s Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) are systematically linked by the NIH to that award. However, these linkages have not been possible for publications that were reported on paper forms. To correct this, the NIH encourages awardees to electronically report any publications which were previously reported using the paper 2590 process or as part of a competing renewal application. This transitional, one-time measure to report each publication electronically in the RPPR ensures that NIH systems can store all appropriate award publication associations. More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 04/16/2015]
[March 19, 2015] How do I request a No-Cost Extension (NCE) to my NIH grant? NIH Standard Terms of Award allow grantees to automatically extend the final budget period of a previously approved project period one time for a period of up to 12 months, without additional NIH funds. This action may be appropriate if there will be no change in the project’s originally approved scope and additional time is needed to ensure adequate completion of the originally approved project. The NIH will not accept an NCE request once the stated award end date has passed. Any additional project period extension beyond the one-time extension of up to 12 months requires prior NIH approval.

To request a NCE, the PI of the NIH grant should contact the Sponsored Research & Program Development office in writing before the award end date to provide the number of months the project period should be extended (up to 12) and a brief justification for the request (up to 2,000 characters). The justification should include updated compliance (e.g. human subjects, animals) information. The Post-Award Manager will review and then process the NCE in the eRA Commons. The NIH awarding office will then revise the project period end date and provide an acknowledgement to the grantee. In extending the final budget period of the project period, the grantee agrees to update all required certifications, including human subjects and animal welfare, in accordance with applicable regulations and policies.  More>>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 03/19/2015]
[February 19, 2015] When should I request receipt of subcontract documentation for grants when RU is the prime?  If you are submitting a competing or a non-competing application which includes one or more subcontracts, we advise applicants to request the required documentation well in advance of the sponsor’s deadline. For competing applications, it is advisable to set a deadline of 15 business days in advance of the sponsor deadline for the subcontractor. For non-competing applications, it is advisable to set a deadline of 10 business days in advance of the sponsor deadline for the subcontractor. This will allow adequate time for both the lab administrator and SR-PD to carefully verify compliance with all guidelines. Having subcontractor documentation early helps to finalize the RU prime portion and allows timely resolution of technical difficulties, and minimizes slow system response time that often occurs just before deadlines (The Dangers in Delay). [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 02/19/2015]
We value your comments and rely on your feedback to improve our services.