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[December 22, 2011] How should effort be reported in NIH progress reports (electronic & paper)? NIH expects the level of effort to be calculated and reported in terms of person months. The effort calculation depends on the type of appointment an individual has with their organization. At The Rockefeller University academic appointments are normally for 12 months. To calculate effort, multiply the percentage of the individual’s effort on the project times the number of months of their appointment in the project segment being reported. Example: 10% of a 12-month appointment equals 1.2 calendar months (12 x .10 = 1.2). Since NIH progress reports are normally due before the budget period end date, it would be necessary to estimate a fraction of the effort - the effort during the period between the report submission and the segment’s end date. More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 12/22/2011]

[December 22, 2011] How should Other Support be reported in my NIH eSNAP Progress Report? Per the NIH Guidelines: Specific information is to be provided only if active support has changed, or if new senior/key personnel are added to the project. Other Support includes all financial resources, whether Federal, non-Federal, commercial or institutional, available in direct support of an individual's research endeavors, including but not limited to research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and/or institutional awards. Training awards, prizes, or gifts do not need to be included. Reported details should include: all active research support; all recently terminated research support, i.e. previously reported active support that has ended since the last report submission; other changes from the previously reported Other Support must be annotated. Additional details in Section 2.1.2 of PHS 2590 Guidelines.  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 12/22/2011]

[December 8, 2011] What is the significance of institutional signature on sponsored research applications? Sponsored research applications that are submitted by institutions on behalf of the Principal Investigator/s (PIs) require an institutional official’s signature. This signature provides the institutional certification that all the information in the application - administrative, fiscal, and programmatic - is fully compliant with all applicable Sponsor, Federal, State and University requirements and conditions. For more information on institutional responsibilities see for example NIH NOT-OD-10-120  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 12/08/2011]

[December 8, 2011] Does the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals apply to the production of custom antibodies? Yes, per PHS policy, the generation of custom antibodies is considered an activity involving vertebrate animals. An organization producing custom antibodies for a grantee must have or obtain an Assurance, or be included as a component of the grantee’s Assurance. In addition, the applicant must provide the date (verification) of project-specific IACUC approval for the production of the antibodies. Read more on the PHS policy and institutional procedures for submitting applications that use custom antibodies. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 12/08/2011]

[November 10, 2011] What considerations are there for project titles of grant proposals? A title that captures the long-term goals of the proposed research would have a longer life span.  Balancing specificity, simplicity, and overall scope in the title is encouraged. Attention to the sponsor requirements is critical  (e.g. character limits, allowable characters, use of symbols). More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 11/10/2011]

[November 10, 2011] Must I keep the title of my NIH grant unchanged when applying for a competing renewal? No. While it is often best to keep the same title, you may revise it if it no longer reflects the evolving scope of your application (e.g. additional aims; a new animal model).  Remember to indicate that your application is a renewal and include the grant number.  The title change can also be noted in the cover letter. Contacting your Program Official early to discuss the submission of your renewal is advised.  More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 11/10/2011]

[October 27, 2011] Why are Principal Investigators required to submit a Routing Form before their sponsored funding application can be approved for submission? The Routing Form assists and protects investigators and their institution. Used to document mandatory assurances for all proposals and other activities involving sponsored support, the Routing Form facilitates compliance with federal, state, sponsor, and university policies. The Form, also serving as a checklist of regulatory requirements for the investigators and institutional reviewers, enables the systematic, streamlined and cross-departmental oversight of human and animal subjects work, laboratory safety, SFI, and other areas as needed. A sponsored funding application can be submitted only after a Routing Form is completed and signed with all required signatures. More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 10/27/2011]

[October 13, 2011] What are Limited Submission grant research programs? These are funding opportunities where sponsors limit the number of submissions from an institution. As a result of this restriction, an internal nomination process is required to select the best applicant(s).  Nominations are solicited internally by announcing upcoming programs and eligibility requirements. These solicitations come from either SR-PD or the Development OfficeMore>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 10/13/2011]

[September 28, 2011] How should I proceed if a substantial budget cut (e.g. 'substantial' NIH cut would be 25% or more) is applied to an award? The Principal Investigator (PI) is advised to immediately determine whether the reduced budget would be sufficient to accomplish the original scope of the project. If a scope reduction is needed, the PI would need to discuss this with their sponsor’s Program Official (PO). If a scope reduction is agreed on with the Program Official and the aims to be eliminated are identified, the PI can go ahead and implement, following sponsor’s requirements. 
In the case of the NIH, PIs are advised to submit a revised abstract to reflect a reduced scope and fewer aims.  The PI would work with their SR-PD GMS and their NIH PO to have the revised abstract replaced in all NIH records, including the RePORTER.  Eliminated aims may be submitted in a brand new application.  More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 09/29/2011]

[September 14, 2011] Are the NIH Program Project/Center Grant mechanisms and the Multiple PI model one and the same? No. Though similar, the Program Project and Center grants are mechanism-specific, while the Multiple PI model may be used for several different grant mechanisms. For more information go to NIH Program Project Grant (P01)NIH Specialized Center Grant (P50), and  NIH Multi-PI Model [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 09/15/2011]

[September 1, 2011] Are there any advantages to submitting an NIH application in response to a specific solicitation, i.e. Program Announcement (PA) or Request For Applications (RFA), instead of the Parent Announcement? Yes, if your research is in an area described in a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and your study aims meet most of the FOA research criteria, then it would be advisable to submit your proposal to a specific PA/RFA instead of the general Parent Announcement, since the RFA has specific funds associated with the program and funding likelihood may be higher. Some Program Announcements also have set-aside funds (PAS; would be detailed in Section II. Award Information of FOA), and in some cases submissions to a PA will be reviewed by a single study section (PAR). High-priority applications may be funded beyond the payline, especially for PAS submissions. More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 09/01/2011]

[August 17, 2011] What's the relationship between effort and salary requests? The percentage of salary charged should correspond to the committed effort on proposed and active projects. There may be exceptions as a result of sponsors’ requirements and due to HOL and HHMI status.  Effort reporting on campus is overseen by the Finance Department. SR-PD works closely with Finance to verify proposed and active efforts on reports and applications, before signing off and submitting to sponsors.  Effort commitment questions must be clarified with your HOL and with Dion Brown in Finance Accounting Services. For full guidance on Effort Reporting see Finance Compliance. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 08/18/2011]

[August 3, 2011] Can the final budget period of an NIH grant be extended for researchers who take a leave of absence due to care-giving responsibilities? Yes. Provisions associated with the extension of the budget period to accommodate the absence of the PD/PI are described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. NIH also permits career development awardees to reduce the level of effort and if necessary extend their career development awards in the case of pressing family responsibilities. More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 08/04/2011]

[August 3, 2011] If a PD/PI on an NIH or NSF grant is going to be absent for an extended period, can the institution request appointment of an interim PD/PI? Yes. Provisions associated with the extended absence of the PD/PI or other senior/key personnel are described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement and the NSF Grant Proposal Guide. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 08/04/2011]

[July 21, 2011] Does NIH allow carry forward of funds from an ending grant into a new competitive cycle (Type 2)? Funds are allowed to be carried over on awards with carryover authority. The Notice of Award will include a term and condition to indicate the disposition of unobligated balances. The term and condition will state whether the grantee has automatic carryover authority, or if prior approval is required by the NIH awarding Institute or Center. The authority to automatically carry over unobligated balances includes the authority to carryover from one competitive segment to another. You should work closely with Finance and SR-PD if you anticipate a carryover nearing the end of an award's competitive cycle. More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 07/21/2011]

[July 07, 2011] Should I contact a Program Officer (PO) before I apply for NIH funding? Yes. Early in the planning stage of your project, we advise that you contact the NIH PO assigned to the specific opportunity you are considering.  POs are listed in section VII of NIH Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA).  Program staff are scientists by training and are your best source for scientific and funding information.  POs may provide you with valuable insights on institute/center's enthusiasm about your research area, especially relevant research topics, potential suitability of project scope and directions, budgetary factors and requirements, and other useful tips.  Be sure to document your PO's guidance in case you need to reference it in your application's cover letterMore>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 07/07/2011]

[July 07, 2011] Why would NIH and NSF return a grant application without review?  NIH and NSF applications may be returned without review for several reasons that can easily be avoided, such as: failure to meet the sponsor's deadline; non-responsiveness to the programmatic scope; improper formatting; exceeding page limits; exceeding budget limit; missing required elements; or overlap with another funded project.  More at NIH and NSF.  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 07/07/2011]

[June 23, 2011] Is there a time limit on submitting Competing Renewals (CR) to the NIH? Currently, NIH does not have a time limit on CR submissions.  However, to avoid a gap it is best to submit your CR one or more review cycles early in case the first submission does not receive a fundable score.  Keep in mind that reviewers expect to see accomplishments, and if the research is progressing slowly, it is advisable to wait to get results that could be included in the application. On the other hand, reviewers might be concerned by major gaps between projects because the science might have changed. For more on creating your renewal go to Renewal How To in the NIH Grant Cycle: Application to Renewal. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 06/23/2011]

[June 22, 2011] What are the potential consequences of submitting a late final progress report to the NIH? Failure to submit timely and accurate final reports may affect future funding to the organization.  Accordingly, NIH will consider imposing sanctions to institutions that fail to correct recurring reporting problems.  Such sanctions may include restriction of facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, removal of expanded authorities, delay or withholding of further awards to the project or program, removal from participation in NIH-funded awards under the Federal Demonstration Project Expanded Authorities, and designation as a high-risk grantee.  More in Grants Policy Statement and NIH Notice. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 06/23/2011]

[June 9, 2011] Is it necessary, or even advisable, to request a no-cost extension (regardless of carryover) as the NIH project period end date approaches if the competing application remains pending? In some cases it is appropriate to request the no-cost extension as the project period end date approaches. However, if it is certain that the competing continuation is going to be funded by the requested start date, then you should not request a no-cost extension. Please contact the Manager, Administrative Post-Award at least 90 days before the end date of your grant to determine the best course of action.  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 06/09/2011]

[June 9, 2011] Are NIH ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) grants eligible for no-cost extensions? ARRA-funded projects are eligible for a single 1-year no-cost extension without NIH prior approval, similar to non-ARRA NIH grants. Requests for second extensions of ARRA grants will be difficult to obtain and will be approved by NIH only under specific circumstances.  More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 06/09/2011]

[May 26, 2011] Will cuts be made to noncompeting NIH awards in FY2011? Modular and non-modular research grants, from all Institutes and Centers, with the single exception of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will be reduced to 1 percent below the FY 2010 award level.  For NCI, modular and non-modular research grants will be reduced to 3 percent below the FY 2010 award level. Inflationary adjustments for recurring costs on non-competing research grants in FY 2012 and beyond will be set at the 2 percent level. The NIH will implement a 2 percent increase at all stipend levels for Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA).  Further information about the NRSA program in FY 2011 is available at NOT-OD-11-067. More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 05/26/2011]

[May 26, 2011] My NIH R01 application received a good score, but its funding is uncertain; what are the re-submission options? Investigators are advised to discuss summary statement issues and resubmission options with their Program Official. Possible options to consider include: if your application scores above the payline and its problems are fixable, then you can start revising right away; if substantial changes are required for the revised proposal, then it may be submitted as a new application (refer to NIH guidelines on Evaluation of Unallowable Resubmission and Overlapping Applications); and if the unsuccessful application was submitted to a Request For Application, it may be revised and submitted as ‘new’ to a different Funding Opportunity Announcement. More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 05/26/2011]

[May 10, 2011] How can factors that may have reduced one’s productivity be described in NIH applications? Beginning with applications submitted for the May 25, 2011 and subsequent receipt dates, a modified personal statement section in the NIH Biosketch form will allow Principal Investigators and other key personnel to describe personal circumstances (e.g. family care responsibilities, illness, disability, military service and other personal issues) that may have reduced their productivity. This information is optional, and if applicants wish to provide it, they are encouraged to limit such descriptions to a few sentences. More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 05/12/2011]

[May 10, 2011] What is the Health Research Funding resource and how could it help with scored but unfunded NIH applications?  The National Health Council (NHC) developed this 'second chance' resource to serve as a clearinghouse for scored yet unfunded NIH research proposals. Investigators whose NIH applications have been scored but not funded can submit abstracts to this database and patient advocacy organizations and other sponsors can search this repository to identify projects relevant for funding consideration. More>>  UPDATE: PLEASE REVIEW INSTITUTIONAL ADVISORY BEFORE SUBMITTING ABSTRACTS.   [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 05/12/2011]

[April 27, 2011] Where can I find information on NIH-supported research grants? The NIH RePORTER (Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools - Expenditures and Results) is an electronic tool that allows users to search a repository of NIH-funded research projects and to access publications and patents resulting from NIH funding, as well as comparative analyses. Search parameters include key words, project title, funding mechanism, institution, fiscal year, study section and RFA/PA (Request For Application/Program Announcement). More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 04/28/2011]

[April 27, 2011] Can I link my NIH awards (RePORTER records) to my personal web page? NIH-funded Principal Investigators (PIs) now have the ability to add links to “profile pages” (e.g., their institutional faculty page or laboratory website). Wherever a PI’s name appears in RePORTER, it is hyperlinked to a list of websites submitted by the PI. The hyperlink also provides instructions for PIs to add new sites to their list. RePORTER is used by thousands daily and having these links to your faculty page, professional profile and/or laboratory webpage will enable others to learn more about your research.  More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 04/28/2011]

[April 14, 2011] What information can be included in cover letters for NIH applications? Since cover letters can help to get your application to the most suitable study section, submitting such a letter with informative details is important. Cover letters should be brief and include a reference to the RFA/PA. Letters can also include a request for a specific study section or Institute/Center (IC), describe areas of expertise required to adequately review your proposal, identify conflict of interest with potential reviewers, and/or name the Program Official who encouraged you to submit and/or approved a request of $500,000/year or more in direct costs. Depending on your application and specific concerns, other details may be included. Only NIH referral and review staff will see your letter, and it is not shared with peer reviewers. More>> NIAID Tutorial, All about Grants Podcast. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 04/14/2011]

[April 14, 2011] Is it possible to withdraw my NIH application? Yes, a Principal Investigator (PI) may withdraw an application after submission if s/he discovers that the proposal has a major problem that must be corrected and/or decides not to pursue funding. Applications withdrawn before initial peer review will not count as one of the allowed submissions. Applications withdrawn after initial peer review will count as one of the allowed submissions. More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 04/14/2011]

[March 29, 2011] Is it possible to resubmit unfunded National Science Foundation (NSF) proposals? Unless program guidelines restrict resubmissions, a declined proposal may be resubmitted to the NSF. In such a case, Principal Investigators are advised to study the prior panel reviews, and contact the Program Officer to discuss whether a resubmission is reasonable. The revised proposal should address panel criticisms. The NSF will treat the revised proposal as a new proposal, subject to standard review procedures. More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 03/31/2011]

[March 29, 2011] What is the relationship between effort and salary requests? Overall the percentage of salary charged should be consistent with committed effort. There may be exceptions to this general policy due to sponsor imposed salary caps, cost-sharing restrictions, and other factors. Effort reporting on campus is overseen by the Finance Department. For additional guidance on this topic see Finance Compliance. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 03/31/2011]

[March 16, 2011] How is percentile ranking assigned in NIH peer review related to grant application success rates and to paylines? The percentile is a ranking that shows the relative position of each application’s priority score among all scores assigned by an NIH scientific review group at its last three meetings.  The success rate represents the number of grant applications that are funded in a given fiscal year divided by the total number of grant applications (scored and unscored) that were peer reviewed. Thus, applications that are not percentiled are still factored into the success rate calculation.  Paylines are percentile-based funding cutoff points that each NIH Institute sets annually by balancing the projected number of grants applications with the fiscal year’s budget appropriation.
More about NIH percentiles, success rates, and paylines [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 03/17/2011]

[March 02, 2011] Can an Early Stage Investigator (ESI) status be extended and how? As detailed in NOT-OD-09-034, NIH may consider requests to extend the ESI period for reasons such as medical concerns, disability, family care responsibilities, extended periods of clinical training, natural disasters, and active duty military service. An extension of the ESI period may be requested by investigators at any time after the eRA Commons has displayed their ESI status.  Investigators must complete the online Form to request an extension of their ESI status.  More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 03/03/2011]

[March, 02, 2011] Will participation in a Multiple PI R01 application affect ESI consideration? A multiple PI R01 application will be flagged as an ESI application only if all the listed PIs have ESI status at the time of submission. ESIs listed as PIs on an awarded multiple PI application will not be considered ESIs on future submissions.  More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 03/03/2011]

[February 15, 2011] What are the acceptable post-submission materials to the NIH? This is a reminder and as outlined in the recent NIH Notice NOT-OD-10-115, acceptable post-submission materials include:
- Revised budget page(s) (e.g., change in budget request due to new funding or institutional acquisition of equipment)
- Biographical sketches (e.g., change in senior/key personnel due to the hiring, replacement, or loss of an investigator)
- Letters of support or collaboration resulting from a change in senior/key personnel due to the hiring, replacement, or loss of an investigator
- Adjustments resulting from natural disasters (e.g., loss of an animal colony)
- Adjustments resulting from change of institution (e.g., PI moves to another university)
- News of an article accepted for publication (a copy of the article should not be sent).
Previously related SR-PD FAQs/Tips, include:
New NIH Policy Post-submission Application Material May 26, 2010
Submission of late material prior to initial peer review NIH-Specific category [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 02/17/2011]

[February 15, 2011] What is the NSF Project Outcomes Report for the General Public requirement? This reporting requirement is effective for NSF awards made or existing awards that receive funding increments or supplements on/after January 4, 2010. The Project Outcomes Report will offer a brief summary prepared by the Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI specifically for the public, describing the nature and outcomes of the project. These reports will be posted for public viewing exactly as submitted by the PI or co-PI and accompanied by a disclaimer. PIs and co-PIs will use to prepare and submit these reports. This report is required in addition to final project reports which PIs and co-PIs will continue to submit through FastLane. (Other new NSF requirements are outlined in the new Grant Proposal Guide.) More on the Project Outcome Report>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 02/17/2011]

[February 02, 2011] Are there samples available of the new shorter format (12 page Research Strategy) for NIH R01 applications? NIAID has posted four examples of exceptional R01 proposals in the new format and the corresponding summary statements on their Website. The abstracts and research plans are annotated to highlight the grantsmanship attributes. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 02/03/2011]

[February 02, 2011] Whom should I contact with concerns about the study section assignment of my NIH A0 submission? If you have concerns about the appropriateness of your assignment, contact the Scientific Review Officer (SRO) as soon as possible (contact information and study section details are available through eRA Commons). The Principal Investigator (PI) can discuss options with the SRO, such as recommending ad hoc reviewers with the necessary expertise for the study section, changing the study section assignment, or suggesting an alternative review panel (check Center for Scientific Review Study Section Rosters). A1 submissions are normally reviewed by the same section that reviewed the corresponding A0 submissions. Previously related SR-PD FAQs/Tips, include:
Assignment preference in your Cover Letter NIH-Specific category
Study Section assignment Nov. 13, 2009
Study Sections and Special Emphasis Panels Nov. 13, 2009
More>> [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 02/03/2011]

[January 20, 2011] Which NIH applications must use the new NIH ADOBE-FORMS-B1 for due dates on or after January 25, 2011? The new NIH ADOBE-FORMS-B1 packages must be used for the following programs: Career Development (Ks), Institutional Training and Career Development (Ts, Ds), and Individual National Research Service Award (Fs) programs. Therefore, applicants must select ADOBE-FORMS-B1 when creating grant proposals for K, T, or F applications in InfoEd. Applications for all other NIH research grants may use the ADOBE-FORMS-B until May 7, 2011. SR-PD recommends selecting ADOBE-FORMS-B when creating all research grant proposals (e.g. R01, R21, R03 etc.) in InfoEd for the February 2011 deadlines.  See NIH Notices OD-11-007 and OD-11-008. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 01/20/2011]

[January 6, 2011] What is NIH policy regarding acceptable materials in grant applications? With the recently implemented shorter applications, NIH has adopted tighter restrictions regarding what can and can’t be included in your application or post-submission materials. For example, NIH requires a self-contained Research Strategy section which can’t link out to web sites, nor include embedded files (links will be inactivated during processing); some NIH opportunities have special restrictions or don’t allow appendix materials at all; if inappropriate material is included in an appendix (e.g., an extension of the Specific Aims or Research Strategy section) then the Scientific Review Officer (SRO) can instruct peer reviewers not to read or consider the material in their review of the application. In some cases NIH has the authority to withdraw the application from review or consideration for funding. More>>  [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 01/06/2011]

Tips From Other Departments
[October 27, 2011] Markus Library: What is the best way to ensure that publisher-deposited manuscripts into PubMed Central will be assigned a PMCID number, as required by NIH? Getting the PMCID number for your NIH resulting publication requires three simple steps:
1. Make sure that, when offered, you opt-in on your publisher’s agreement to use their manuscript deposit service; then
2. Check your email for ncbi alerts from; then
3. Log in promptly to your eRA Commons account  OR log into the NIHMS System and either approve the web version of your manuscript or request corrections.
Important: Delaying step 3 may result in losing your opportunity to get your PMCID quickly and easily.  It will then be necessary to re-activate the manuscript verification process and re-initiate the PubMed Central process. Failure to secure a PMCID, could lead to interruption of NIH grant support.
For manuscripts that are NOT publisher-deposited, go to the Markus Library for help. [Faculty, Postdocs and Resadmin 10/27/2011]

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