Shorter “Enhanced” NIH Application Format

The official notice for Restructured Application Forms and Instructions for Submissions for FY2011 Funding is out: all NIH grant applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2010 (i.e., for funding in FY11 and beyond) now have shorter page limits and a restructured format with changes to the research plan, biosketch, resources, and select agent components. The major changes include:

  • All Introductions are limited to 1 page (formerly 3 pages for R01s et al.)
  • Specific Aims is officially limited to 1 page
  • A single Research Strategy (6 or 12 p) replaces Background & Significance, Preliminary Studies/Progress Report, and Research Design & Methods
  • Research Strategy organized to address review criteria (Significance, Innovation, Approach)
  • Preliminary data/progress reports become part of Approach section of the Research Strategy narrative
  • For Select Agents, describe the biocontainment resources available at all performance sites
  • Resources must describe environment to support research current proposal (vs only boilerplate)
  • ESIs should describe the start-up package/institutional investment in their research career
  • Biosketch adds personal statement about why your experience & qualifications make you particularly well-suited for your role
  • Biosketch encourages limit of 15 publications


  1. […] pm · Filed under Funding Opportunities, Grantsmanship, NIH Advice, Research News UPDATE: As discussed here, the official NIH notice is out about policies governing the shorter page length and modified […]

  2. pinus said

    I am at the point, where I might not submit an R01 for the next deadline, simply because 1) I will not get it without revisions 2) I don’t want to have go from 25 pages to 12 pages. I think it will be easier to write 12 pages from scratch. Stupid NIH, why do they have to change shit just when I become a PI.

  3. This has determined my strategy for submitting an A2 resubmission of a new R01 and an A0 competing renewal. The A2 is going in this November, because the A0 and A1 were already 25 pages in the old format. The A0 is going in March 2010, because I don’t feel like writing the motherfucker as 25 pages and then having to rewrite. I also think that because we have been pretty productive in the current competing interval, the shorter format favors us relative to new applications.

  4. whimple said

    Is it permissible to use the new biosketch format as of right now? I like the idea of the personal statement. 🙂
    Personally, I’m putting in a new R01 for this October at 25 pages.

    • D said

      I think you can put anything you want in your Biosketch right now. I can’t wait to read the first few rounds of personal statements. Because in 2-3 years they will all sound the same.

  5. Beaker said

    Whimple, the explicit answer to your question about the biosketch format is yes.

    From the new guidelines:

    “Although not immediately required in competing applications, institutions may begin to include a Personal Statement and 15 or fewer publications in Biographical Sketches (as described in this Policy Announcement) prior to Jan 25, 2010 due dates, if desired.”

  6. […] via Medical Writing, Editing and Grantmanship accompanied by some interesting […]

  7. BB said

    “I think you can put anything you want in your Biosketch right now. I can’t wait to read the first few rounds of personal statements. Because in 2-3 years they will all sound the same.”

    Or they will sound like the author’s bios on book blurbs.

  8. neurowoman said

    What’s the intent with the ESI ‘environment’ section? What if you are not yet TT and don’t have a start-up package? Does that ding your grant chances? is that a reviewed item or something for the PO to consider?
    My concern is that it’s getting harder to get TT job without a grant; if this is going to make it harder for soft money or pre-TT folks to get a grant, that’s going to make it harder to get a job… and round we go…

  9. Sci Write said

    Does anyone know if the NIH has provided even a single example of what a “new format” research plan would look like? Does anyone know of any resources at all (NIH or otherwise) that could help investigators determine how to go about writing in the new format?

    • BikeMonkey said

      My advice would be to bait PhysioProf into taking a whack at it…

      • Sci Write said

        What kind of bait would one need?

        I’ve come across this potential resource, which is a “beta” version of the Grant Application Writers’ Handbook-NIH–the website entry ( for it says:

        This ‘beta’ version of the new Grant Application Writer’s Workbook – NIH is designed to help members of the extramural community understand and cope with these changes so that they can capitalize on them at the earliest possible time. We have written this edition while NIH is still formalizing its new approach. It is designed to give members of the extramural community a ‘jump start’ on how to write the shortened proposals that will be required for the 2010 deadlines and thereafter. We have based this version on relevant Internet-posted presentations by NIH program staff, discussions with NIH program staff persons at regional seminars, feedback from NIH reviewers, our extrapolations from official NIH Notices that have been published to date, and our 30+ years of experience, each, in writing and reviewing NIH research-grant proposals. We underscore how important it is during this transition period to complement this edition of the Workbook with the additional official Notices and instructions that NIH will be issuing.

  10. writedit said

    As usual, NIAID offers good coverage and resources for the new application format and length.

  11. Sci Write said

    The NIAID link is enormously helpful. Thank you for posting it!

  12. […] Shorter “Enhanced” NIH Application Format […]

  13. Tishka said

    Can someone tell me if the 2010 K proposals have the limit of 12, or 6 pages? Thanks!

    • D said

      The answer is here

      New Application Structure and Length

      For individual Career Development (K) applications, the Research Strategy does not include the Candidate Information section. The combined page limit for the Research Strategy and items 2-5 of the Career Development (K) Award Supplemental Form will be 12 pages. Items 2-5 are:

      * Candidate’s Background
      * Career Goals & Objectives
      * Career Development/Training Activities During Award Period
      * Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

      For institutional Career Development (K12), Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Institutional Training (T), and International Training (D43, D71) applications, the page limit for items 2-5 of the Research Training Program Plan will remain at 25 pages. Items 2-5 will be:

      * Background
      * Program Plan
      * Recruitment and Retention to Enhance Diversity
      * Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research

      The K12 and Training programs are also transitioning to an electronic submission process for due dates on or after January 25, 2010 (NOT-OD-09-113).

  14. Nicole said

    Hi, great post! I’m applying a K-grant, whereas the page limits are 12 including candidate’s background, career goals and objectives, career plan and research strategy (significance, innovation and approach). Does anyone have suggestions how to break down the pages for these sub-sections? Or in general, for the research strategy section, will the reviewers care more about significance + innovation or approach (including prelim. data)? Thanks heaps for any insights!

    • D said

      My experience is that reviewers care much more about items 2-5 above than the research per se. These are mentoring/training grants with some research as a secret sauce. Not “R-type” research grants.

      • Nicole said

        Thank you, D.

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