NIH has a revamped resource to help new NIH reviewers, as well as applicants, understand the peer review requirements.
Guidance for Reviewers introduces the timeline and activities associated with each step of the process thorugh step by step instructions and links to a video tutorial series. It also compiles reviewer “do’s and don’ts” for the pre-meeting, meeting, and post-meeting periods.
Current RPPR instructions direct awardees to report only those publications that have been accepted for publication during the reporting period. However, NIH can only systematically link publications to awards if those papers were reported to us electronically using RPPR or eSNAP. These definitive linkages have not been possible for publications reported on paper forms, such as the PHS 2590. Maintaining appropriate linkages between publications and awards enables electronic systems, such as My Bibliography, to automatically populate biosketches and reporting systems, such as RePORTER, to identify results of NIH supported research.
In May 2014, NIH and AHRQ databases were updated to support the collection of data using the full Unicode character set. This allowed eRA systems to accept Greek and other characters as they appeared in the original scientific text attachments included with applications. It also allowed these additional characters to be included in summary statements, progress reports and reporting systems. See NOT-OD-14-071.
However, at that time Grants.gov was unable to support the expanded character set. Consequently, applicants could use Unicode characters in their PDF attachments, but still could not use Greek and other special Unicode characters in the free-text form fields of their applications (e.g., project title, name, address, organization name, etc.).
As of February 17, 2015, Grants.gov forms and systems will also support Unicode characters.
Note: Grants.gov refers to their changes as ‘UTF-8 support’. UTF-8 is one standard for encoding the Unicode character set. Though the terms are different, the efforts provide the same benefit – support for the use of an expanded character set which includes the Greek and other characters and symbols often found in research documentation.
ASSIST is NIH’s on-line system for the preparation and submission of grant applications through Grants.gov to NIH.
Effective Jan. 30, ASSIST is available as a submission option for NIH’s Small Research Grant (R03) and Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21) programs. ASSIST is not currently available for R21/R33 Phased Innovation Award applications.
Use of ASSIST is optional; Grants.gov downloadable forms and institutional system-to-system solutions remain viable options for application preparation and submission to NIH (learn more about options).
The revised forms and instructions are now available on the SF 424 (R&R) Forms and Applications page and adjustments have been made to improve their usability.
Individual fellowships, R36 dissertation grants, and diversity supplements should use the Fellowship Application Biographical Sketch Format Page and related pre-doc and post-doc instructions and samples, while research grant applications, career development, training grant, and all other application types should use the general Biographical Sketch Format Page and instructions and sample.
The new format extends the page limit for the biosketch from four to five pages, and allows researchers to describe up to five of their most significant contributions to science, along with the historical background that framed their research. Investigators can outline the central findings of prior work and the influence of those findings on the investigator’s field. Investigators involved in Team Science are provided the opportunity to describe their specific role(s) in the work. Each description can be accompanied by a listing of up to four relevant peer-reviewed publications or other non-publication research products, including audio or video products; patents; data and research materials; databases; educational aids or curricula; instruments or equipment; models; protocols; and software or netware that are relevant to the described contribution. In addition to the descriptions of specific contributions and documentation, researchers will be allowed to include a link to a full list of their published work as found in a publicly available digital database such as MyBibliography or SciENcv.
Sally Rockey, NIH Office of Extramural Research, explains that the new format accomplishes two important goals: allowing applicants to describe the magnitude and significance of their scientific contributions (including publications), and providing more detailed information about their research experience in the context of the proposed project. Read more.
NIH has removed the requirement to identify ‘substantial scientific changes’ in the text of a Resubmission application by ‘bracketing, indenting, or change of typography’.
Effective immediately, it is sufficient to outline the changes made to the Resubmission application in the Introduction attachment. The Introduction must include a summary of substantial additions, deletions, and changes to the application. It must also include a response to weaknesses raised in the Summary Statement. The page limit for the Introduction may not exceed one page unless indicated otherwise in the Table of Page Limits.
Effective Jan. 25, NIH grant application submissions involving the generation or use of large-scale genomic data have new requirements. The new policy promotes sharing, for research purposes, of large-scale human and non-human genomic1 data generated from NIH-funded research.
Applicants preparing such grant applications are expected to:
- state in the cover letter that the studies proposed will generate large-scale human and/or non-human genomic data, and
- include a genomic data sharing plan in the application. If sharing of human data is not possible, applicants should provide a justification explaining why they cannot share these data and provide an alternative data sharing plan.
- Applicants who plan to use controlled-access human genomic data from NIH-designated data repositories as a secondary user to achieve the specific aims in the application should:
- briefly address their plans for requesting access to the data, and
- state their intention to abide by the NIH Genomic Data User Code of Conduct, in the Research Plan of the application.
- Applicants preparing applications that involve research funded prior to the Policy’s effective date should:
- make every effort to include a genomic data sharing plan in the application that outlines plans to comply with the expectations outlined in the Policy, and
- plan to transition to a consent for future research uses and broad sharing, if possible, if the studies involve human participants and were initiated before the Policy’s effective date and used consents that do not meet the expectations of the GDS Policy.
With implementation of the Genomic Data sharing Policy, submission of the Institutional Certification for human genomic data will become part of the standard Just-in-Time process. Additional guidance for, researchers and institutions submitting grant applications and contract proposals involving large-scale genomic data is available on the Genomic Data Sharing website: (https://gds.nih.gov/).