As with the R56 bridge funding mechanism, being granted a third amended submission (ie, a 4th submission) is not up to the PI. The NIH started allowing these a few years ago when they began tweaking the IRGs and study sections, a process that will continue and possibly accelerate as a result of the CSR “open house” discussions.
You can read the full notice, the take-home message of which is:
“Because of the reorganization of Integrated Review Groups and their component study sections in the Center for Scientific Review at NIH, some investigators may be concerned that amended applications may be assigned to a new study section. This reorganization is a special circumstance that warrants offering applicants in a particular category an additional review opportunity. Accordingly, NIH has decided to allow a third (A3) revision for applications that meet all of the following criteria:
o They were reviewed in their first revision (A1) in a to-be-disbanded study section and not funded.
o They were reviewed in a newly created study section as the second revision (A2) and not funded.
o A note citing this opportunity appears on the summary statement of A2 application.