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NIH Extramural News - March 2017

March 2017


Open Mike

Following Up On Interim Research Products

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Mike Lauer

The role of preprints — complete and public draft manuscripts which have not gone through the formal peer review, editing, or journal publishing process – continues to be a hot topic in the biological and medical sciences. In January, three major biomedical research funders – HHMI, the MRC, and the Wellcome Trust, changed their policies to allow preprints to be cited in their progress reports and applications. Thinking about preprints also raises questions about the broader class of interim research products, and the role they should play in NIH processes. Other interim products include products like preregistration of protocols or research methods, to publicly declare key elements of a research project in advance. While, under current policy, NIH does not restrict items cited in the research plan of an application, applicants cannot claim preprints in biosketches or progress reports. So, in October, we issued a call for comments to get a fuller understanding of how the NIH-supported research community uses and thinks about interim research products. Today I’d like to follow up with what we’ve learned from your input, and the policy changes this feedback suggests. …. Continue reading

Outcomes of Amended (“A1”) Applications

Posted on March 23, 2017 by Mike Lauer

In a previous blog, we described the outcomes of grant applications according to the initial peer review score. Some of you have wondered about the peer review scores of amended (“A1”) applications. More specifically, some of you have asked about amended applications getting worse scores than first applications; some of you have experienced amended applications not even being discussed after the first application received a priority score and percentile ranking. To better understand what’s happening, we looked at 15,009 investigator-initiated R01 submissions: all initial submissions came to NIH in fiscal years 2014, 2015, or 2016, and all were followed by an amended (“A1”) application…Continue reading


Top Stories


NIH Fiscal Operations and Interim Salary Cap Guidance

NIH continues to operate under a continuing resolution, meaning that we will issue non-competing research grant awards at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level), as we have in past years. See our March 17 Guide notice for details. We have also issued interim guidance on salary limits for NIH grants and cooperative agreements. ….Continue reading

New Resources


Enhancing Our Grants and Application Information

It’s been about a year since we transformed our grants.nih.gov website and the NIH application guide to streamline information, and the time it takes you to locate it. Since the initial changes, we’ve continued to quietly evolve these pages based on your feedback. …Continue reading

You Ask, We Answer


What is a “Person Month” & How Do I Calculate It?

A “person month” is the metric for expressing the effort (amount of time) principal investigators (PIs), faculty and other senior personnel devote to a specific project. The effort is based on the type of appointment of the individual with the organization; e.g., calendar year (CY), academic year (AY), and/or summer term (SM); and the organization’s definition of such. For instance, some institutions define the academic year as a 9-month appointment while others define it as a 10-month appointment. Conversion of percentage of effort to person months is straight-forward. To calculate …. Continue reading


How Do I Withdraw My Application?

To withdraw an application after it has been validated by eRA Commons and moved on to the Center for Scientific Review, there are two ways you can request the withdrawal. A new eRA Commons feature allows the withdrawal electronically through the Prior Approval tab in eRA Commons. This action can be initiated by a principal investigator (PI) or Signing Official (SO), but can only be submitted by the SO. The request can be internally routed in Commons between the SO and PI for review ….Continue reading