Discussion: NIH Scores-Paylines-Policy-Peer Review

I will continue to update the NIH Paylines and Resources page, which is where most discussion of application review, scores, paylines, etc. can be found, but I will keep this page available for those who have bookmarked it to discuss anything related to NIH impact/review criteria scores, paylines, peer review, policy changes, and so forth. Many comments and questions on these topics are scattered in posts throughout the blog, so perhaps this central page will serve to consolidate shared advice, insight, debates, etc.

564 Comments »

  1. drugmonkey said

    Also, any member of the panel can review any proposal (save conflicts) assigned to that panel and write a critique if they so choose. In theory you could end up with 20 or more of them!

    Of course this never happens.

    But what I have seen occur is that someone not assigned to the application will get really involved in some point of discussion (pro or con, people, pro OR con). The system recognizes that the summary statement is supposed to reflect discussion. So sometimes the SRO or Chair or a panel member will say “Hey, will you 1) write that up as a critique; 2) write up a brief blurb for the SRO to include when prepping the resume or 3) write up a point for one of the other reviewers to include when they are editing their review”

    Or, occasionally, a reviewer will just be so ticked about where the assigned reviewers and panel votes went that s/he will just write up a dissenting view on his/her own hook.

    final scenario: the way I understand it* the official rules require that at least two people assigned to the application have to be in the room if it is to be discussed. So if for some reason 2 of the 3 are phone reviewers, the SRO may tap a 4th “discussant” reviewer to fulfill this requirement.

    *it is possible that this is only a strongly encouraged practice and/or a practice limited to selected study sections.

  2. writedit said

    Great – I’m glad you got a reassuring reply promptly. Showing that you are paying attention may work in your favor at some point, too. Good luck with the review!

  3. NewbiePI said

    What is the difference between an R01 vs a U01?

    • writedit said

      With the R01, you conduct the research on your own, with no involvement of the NIH extramural staff. With the U01, which is a cooperative agreement, there is programmatic involvement by NIH extramural staff; if the project is part of a consortium, there will be a Steering Committee and other shared governance of how the research is conducted. For a non-consortium U01 (which could be a multi-site clinical trial, but not with other U01 awardees), the NIH staff participate in trial design and oversight (regular confernce calls etc.). Sometimes an R01 clinical trial is converted to a U01 (large budget, complex trial, involvement of intramural researchers, etc.). There is no parent announcement for the U01, but many ICs require PIs to submit multisite clinical trials applications through a two-part process that involves an R34/U34 clinical trial planning gran) first, followed by a U01 application to conduct the trial itself. Otherwise, U01s are solicited through PARs and RFAs.

    • writedit said

      Also, you can read the cooperative agreement requirements for a specific funding announcement in Section VI. Award Administration Information. It occurs to me this question might have been prompted by the recently released FOAs for the BRAIN Initiative, 5 of which involve the U01 activity code.

      • SG said

        Depending on the IC it is also a way for the PO to act as (or pretend to be) a PI..; -)

  4. IntraNIA said

    Hi WritedIt:

    As some brief background, I’m an intramural NIA post-doc (Ph.D. June 2010). I do neuroimaging work in humans instead of basic research.

    My NIA first submission K99/R00 was reviewed today. My priority score is a 31. It’s very disappointing. Given FY2014 projections you recently posted for NIA (K’s at or below 20), I’m almost entirely certain the grant won’t get funded. I plan to do a resubmission during the next round, which I’m guessing will be the last round when I’m still eligible. Hopefully I can address concerns and not have a triaged A1.

    I do have two questions:

    1) Do you know if NIH is going to delay the next round of reviews, given that the October review period was delayed until December because of the Shutdown?

    2) Congress cobbled together a mediocre budget deal to ameliorate some sequestration cuts. Does any of that alleviate the projected FY2014 cut to NIH? I’m curious to know what the situation is when I resubmit.

    -IntraNIA

    • writedit said

      Well, the interim paylines will go up, since yes, the recent budget agreement does remove the FY14 sequester. Appropriations are still being negotiated under the shadow of the looming debt ceiling deadline, so the outcome for the NIH remains uncertain, but it will be better than FY13, perhaps not quite back to FY12 funding levels. Not sure if that would cover your A0, but my guess is not. Your A1 application would be for FY15 funding, though, which won’t be known until this time next year (we should have some clues based on what happens for FY14). Unless there is another shutdown of the federal government in February (not likely unless GOP is feeling suicidal), the review meetings will be held as scheduled. Your PO can give you some insight into how the discussion went and what would be most important for these reviewers (in terms of making revisions).

      • ioca said

        Hello,
        I received the score for my K99 resubmission to NIMH: it is a 25 and the PO said that ‘an overall impact score of 25 is very good.’ Should I be optimistic about this? What are my chances to get it?
        Thank you!

      • writedit said

        You can be optimistic, but certainly nothing is guaranteed this far out. I am assuming you were just scored, which means you are part of the first batch of applications to be considered for FY16; the interim payline will be low at first and probably not available until this fall (or later), so you will need to be patient. If your PO did not recommend submitting a resubmission, then that is good – but I assume he/she will wait to offer advice on that regard until your summary statement is available.

    • NewPI said

      I went from a score of 34 to 13 in my NIA K99/R00 A1 application. Good luck, great first score to work from IMO.

      • IntraNIA said

        Thank you for the encouragement! My A1 NIA K99/R00 got a 16, I think mostly because Reviewer #3 was still somewhat curmudgeon-y.

        Post-Council, I’m now just waiting to see if the PO is willing to issue an NoA, given my unique situation. Both her and the Scientific Deputy Director seemed to be on board, but I need to send in a packet in “October or November” indicating how I will achieve my Specific Aims. I have a good case, I think, but I really don’t know how often something like this happens.

      • writedit said

        Congratulationsto you and NewPI. Since you submitted your A1 in 2014, it will be awarded underFY15, hopefully during the continuing resolution versus having to wait forthe final federal budget (which is not likely to be passed until next year). Iassume your PO asked for information about addressing your specific aims; I am not sure whether your score falls in the funding vs grayzone, but if the latter, that would explain why they asked for additional details. I am not sure what you mean by”something like this”. Scores dropping to funding level? Receiving anaward after addressing any program concerns? Both happen regularly, and this all sounds good for you, so just keep in touch with your PO and have everything ready to submit whenever they ask.

      • IntraNIA said

        No word yet from the PO or change in status from “Council Review Completed,” but I know it can take weeks or months to suss out the pay lists and paylines. NIA FY2014 payline for a K99/R00 was 20. Under continuing resolution funding, my guess is my 16 is good enough. I was mildly concerned to read in the NIH director’s recent blog post that grant scores were unusually good during the last review round.

        By “something like this,” I mean a PO issuing an NoA for a K99 where the PI/PD has switched institutions from the original institution proposed. (I originally got a TT position at the new institution, but after I got my A1 K score we collectively said ‘let’s have me stay a post-doc for another year so I can hopefully get the K, the R00 to help set up my lab and more data for an R01, and time to transition’). My situation is also odd because the larger phase 2 clinical trial, of which my K99 is a small part, will happen at NIA. My training plan revolves around designing, processing, and analyzing imaging and cognitive data, but it may be odd that someone else collects the data with my protocols.

        Regardless, through phone conversations I think I answered the PO’s concerns. I will see what happens when I send the formal documentation requested (e.g., new institution letter of support, new co-PI letter and biosketch, cover letter, etc.)

      • writedit said

        No worries about the status quo in status. The federal government activity will drive your timeline more than anything else now, plus it will take time to process all the documentation you apparently still need to send. Your PO wouldn’t be working so hard on this if she didn’t think you could/would get an award – especially since you were willing to forego the TT appointment to honor the K99 requirement. I think your analyzing data collected by someone else is fine – happens with a lot of the quantitative CDAs, and your experience developing the protocols as part of a team is a key skill, too.

  5. Sarah said

    I just wanted to encourage you to go ahead with your resubmission. My A0 K99 was triaged, but I managed to get my A1 funded, even in the middle of the budget sequester. It can be easy with the terrible budget situation to talk yourself out of putting in all of the time and effort to resubmit (I nearly did- I almost didn’t resubmit but was talked into it by a friend at the last minute). And anecdotally, it seems to be really helping my job search. Enough so that my advice to everyone is that its totally worth the effort.

    • writedit said

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Sarah, and giving hope to triaged K applicants. I think career development applications are most likely to be able to move from triaged to funded (just told someone here at BICO this, so thanks for backing me up), and I realize I didn’t make clear in my initial reply to IntraNIA the importance of submitting the A1, so thanks for that encouragement, too.

      • IntraNIA said

        I appreciate that WritedIt, thank you. Your initial advice helped me to stop worrying. Many thanks to Sarah and New PI also for their encouragement to submit an A1.

        Barring the (apparently/hopefully) rare circumstance where the A1 is triaged or gets a worse score than the A0, I’m pretty sure my revision will score better and give me a decent chance.

        I have a follow-up question re: TT job apps. Would you recommend I list my K99 and A0 priority score on my CV, or leave out the K99 altogether? On the one hand, it’s an encouraging if likely not fundable score. On the other hand, I’m not sure how search committees now perceive K99 applicants, now that one is required to be on the K99 part for at least 12 months.

      • writedit said

        Regarding the job applications, the idea of listing your score would be to show that you are proactive in submitting grant applications and capable of proposing science of interest to review committees. Whoever might consider hiring you would understand that you would not come with an award unless the appointment were postponed until after the K99 portion was completed, which could then be a negotiating point if you wanted both the K99 and the appointment, and the institution could wait on hiring.

  6. New PI said

    I encourage you to put in A1 as well. Get get input from PO and trusted experts on addressing weaknesses. My A0 IF score was 34 and my A1 was 13 – funded, and well worth it! Good luck!!!

    • writedit said

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience & encouragement and congratulations on the award!

    • IntraNIA said

      Many thanks, and congratulations! I hope my K99 trajectory follows a similar path.

  7. Carica said

    My first R01 (I am an ESI) was recently (last week) scored 23rd percentile (sadly!). My grant was assigned to NIDDK (primary) and NHLBI (secondary). 2013 paylines for ESI were ~ 16 and 21 for NIDDK and NHLBI, respectively. Is there any chance that I can convince anybody (PO) to switch my grant to NHLBI as the primary IC?

    • writedit said

      It is rare for a secondary IC to pick up an application, but if you had an established relationship with the PO at NHLBI, it could be possible. If you had no contact with anyone at NHLBI, you should still email the PO there, in case your area is of programmatic interest. In communicating with the PO, you can also ask if you should request primary assignment to NHLBI for the A1, which I assume you will submit in March or July. Be sure to check in with your NIDDK PO also as to your status there, since they do pick up some select pay applications above the payline (which should be higher for FY14 – though almost certainly not the 23rd percentile).

  8. K01 guy said

    Disclaimer: I apologize in advance if this question is outside the scope of this website, however I thought it would be worth asking since your advice has been very insightful in previous exchanges.

    I am in the second year of a K01 and am becoming confidently clear on the fact that continuing a career in academia is not the best fit for me. While I’m interested in the work that I am doing and am making forward progress, I don’t see a long term future for me as an academic PI. Concurrently, I have been sought out by a local biotechnology company that I would be very interested in working with and would be a great way to transition out of my academic position. The catch is that the timeline is short and I would need to take the industry position in the next 3-6 months.

    Core question: given how early in my K01 I am, what are my options in terms of ending my award? Is there any way to pass a K01 onto someone who can continue the aims of the grant? Are there other options?

    A key concern of mine is not burning bridges with my supervisors and the university by dropping the grant and making them look bad in the eyes of the NIH.

    Any advice on how to handle the grant components of this situation would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

    • writedit said

      You can end your K01 at any point without repercussion to you or your mentor. There is no pay-back agreement, as with NRSA awards, and the funds are intended to advance your career development (the research project is a vehicle to do so vs the focus of the award), and your decision to move to industry is just part of this career development process. You cannot pass on your K01 to someone else – the award will simply be terminated. You can talk with your PO about whether the K01 can be transferred to the biotech company, but it depends on what you will be doing in the industry position (i.e., whether you can continue your project with sufficient protected time and receive mentoring).

  9. Nammi said

    I received a score of 26 on an A1 R21 proposal to NIDDK. I followed up with the PO today and this was the response, ” Sorry. Your grant has been reviewed by the team and out forward for possible funding but there has been no final word. Council meets February 5 but even then the decision may not be final as if your grant remains on the list for possible funding, we still have to balance funding against our limited pool of funds for R21s. Also, there a large number of very meritorious R21s this round. I hope to be able to give you a more definitive answer by mid February but until then there is not much I can say beyond what is in this email.” Is there anything I can learn from this response besides the fact that I just have to wait? I did submit a 1-page response to reviewers who were enthusiastic about the proposal and there were just a few minor concerns.

    • writedit said

      You just have to wait. No one will have definitive answers until Congress passes an appropriations bill (omnibus federal budget bill). Right now, the NIH can only guess at how much $ it will receive based on the framework bill passed last month. Last minute wrangling related to the debt ceiling could still come with cuts, so watch what happens between now and Jan 15 (and between then and Feb 15, if Congress only passes another CR). Your PO is great – he/she is advocating for your application and is being very transparent and realistic about the situation. If there is any chance of getting your R21 funded, he/she will make it happen.

      • NK said

        I got an email yesterday informing me that my R21 would not be funded by NIDDK (Score was 26). SInce it was an A1 I won’t be able to reapply through this. SO disappointed. Maybe I can package as a small R01.

      • writedit said

        You probably want to ask your PO what about the R21 kept it from consideration at the program level, or if they have a priority/gap in their portfolio that your work could be tweaked to address. You’ll want to be sure to send them something they want/need to fund. NIDDK doesn’t participate in the parent R03, but if they have an appropriate PA for this activity code, you could also consider that route to secure some needed preliminary data or develop your model. If you have enough preliminary data, a small R01 could be viable, if your PO is interested in seeing the project reworked for that.

  10. writedit said

    From summary of the FY14 federal spending bill: National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The bill includes $29.9 billion for the NIH, $1 billion above the fiscal year 2013 level. This funding will continue support for basic biomedical research and translational research through the programs like the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) and Institutional Development Award (IDeA) to support scientists as they conduct research to discover cures. Further, it provides full support for the NIH Office of Science Education and programs like the Science Education and Partnership Awards (SEPA) to support biomedical research for the future.

  11. Dave said

    @Writedit: On the paylines and resources page, why can I only see up to October 24th, 2013 now? Have you changed the address or is discussion continuing here for now?

    • writedit said

      I am not sure why WordPress sometimes pushes some earlier comments to the bottom of the page. I need to archive comments from earlier in the year to help this page load faster, so I’ll move those botttom stragglers (mostly from Feb-March 2013) to an archive page. The two most recent posts on the main page didn’t show up as I had expected either (drafts vs final versions), so I’ll need to be more vigilent and appreciate the heads-up. Thanks.

  12. Dave said

    Ah that’s better. Cheers.

  13. Dave said

    The problem has returned Writedit, at least for me……

    • writedit said

      Thanks again for the heads up – I am not sure what is up with WordPress, that older comments keep getting pushed to the bottom (below the newest comments) as I move them to an archive page. Please feel free to keep letting me know, and I’ll try to check back myself. {also, @ Dave, I’ll remove these last few messages about the NIH Paylines page problem in a day or two, so they aren’t cluttering up this Discussion page, but I really appreciate your chiming in & helping me keep on top of this}

  14. Cautiously Optimistic said

    I had a question with regards to R15 vs R01 funding. I’ve recently been awarded an R15, but I have another completely different project that I suspect is competitive for an R01. Given the limitations of R15 funding, is it possible to even apply for an R01? If I was awarded an R01, could I possibly give back the R15 funds?

    • writedit said

      Your AREA award is good for 3 years, so you can certainly apply for R01 funding in the meantime. If you receive an R01 award prior to the conclusion of the R15 award (not necessarily a given), I believe you would receive the remaining R15 funds but could not submit a renewal application. You would communicate with the PO about all this upon receiving a potentially fundable score for an R01 application (PO will know about both). You should not let the receipt of the R15 award keep you from applying for the R01 though.

  15. VTA said

    Hello, I am a NI/ESI with prior K99/R00 funding (R00 ends mid-2014). R01 A0 submitted October 2012 and received 46 (44th %). Revised the app and submitted the A1 in July 2013 and received 27 (19th %). PO at NIDA was an advocate for my K99 funding years ago and is the same now – saying he/she will help as much as possible, including stress that my K99 is ending. PO asked me to submit response to the few minor issues in the summary statement, which was attached to the PO’s recommendation and sent forward to branch chief, division chief, etc. for consideration. Based on this and writedit’s data showing that about 1/3 of 19th % grants were funded in FY 2012 (and presumably many of those that were funded were NI/ESI’s), I felt reasonably optimistic. Also, I asked PO if I should think about revising or “hold on”. Response was to hold on. Unfortunately PO recently says they can’t reach my app for Feb 5th NIDA council but it remains a possibility for later (May) council or end of FY funding in summer. There is no secondary IC.

    Questions:
    1. The process whereby an app is sent up the hierarchy at NIDA is mysterious to me. Seems that anywhere along the way (branch chief, division chief), the app could be dropped from further consideration. PO won’t comment on this part of the process. Any info on how these discussions progress at NIDA? Do I even know whether the Division chief or Director even saw my app?

    2. How realistic is funding at later council or end-of FY funding? Is this how gray-zone scores like mine are more commonly funded, if they are? I imagine they have both October 2013 and February 2014 council to fund now that dollars are real and approved in the recent spending bill, so perhaps they have a bunch of highly meritorious grants to fund and are deferring the beyond-the-payline grants until later? Just wondering how much hope to pin on funding later in the year. Obviously I am working on a new app regardless.

    Thanks.

    • writedit said

      You should be working on a new application, but your R01 A1 could definitely be picked up at May Council. You should assume that the Branch and Division chiefs have seen your app, SS, and response – you have a great PO. The need to wait with such a gray zone score is that they still have one round of reviews left (just starting now). I would guess that your PO will have a better idea where your 19th percentile stands in ~April, after all the spring reviews are done, and NIDA knows the number and range of scored applications that could be considered for funding. I suspect right now, you are looking good – but if Cycle III comes in with lots of lower-scored applications, then they’ll need to put yours on the back burner and perhaps not have the $ to consider it. If your PO is a little less positive after the May Council applications are reviewed, you might ask about the possibility of short-term (R56) funding to keep you collecting data for a new R01 for one more year. This is something only your PO can do, and I’m not sure how often this mechanism is used in this manner at NIDA. Sometimes the IC can cut a deal for a shorter/smaller R01 award, too. But, the fact that you need to wait for May for all this is typical, given your score, and your PO’s enthusiasm is a good sign. Still, you should be thinking about a new R01 – always, not just because this app might not be funded.

  16. Pick said

    Your website is super helpful, thank you. I’m waiting to hear about a K99/R00 submitted in June 2013. I scored in the grey zone, and my status now reads Council review completed (good news?). Does my Just In Time information need to list other support for Me, the two co-mentors and all 4 consultants that are listed in the application? My institution says they only need to include this information for me since I’m the only one with salary in my budget, but I want to make sure my JIT is done properly in case I’m still in the running for the award. Thanks

    • writedit said

      Yes, they only need your Other Support page updated. You would need to document human subjects research protection training for anyone on an IRB protocol who is also listed as contributing effort, but I think this would be unusual for a K99 (ie, doing human subjects research requiring IRB approval).

  17. Daniele said

    My funding timeline for anyone that can find it helpful

    K99/R00 funding through NCI:
    applied Feb. 2013
    score and comments June 2013
    Council Review September 2013
    JIT requested Dec 2013
    Award Letter Jan 2013
    Start Date Feb 1 2014

    A question that I really need help with (sorry not entirely related to string)

    I was on a Komen fellowship and during JIT submission for the K99 I asked my PI, financial specialist, and office of grants management at my institute if we could preserve Komen funds if my K99 was awarded. Everyone said that we needed to relinquish these funds so that is what I proposed on my JIT.

    After my award letter was received, my PI had his financial advisor contact Komen and long story short they said that we could re-budget Komen salary funds to supplies if I modify my K99 from 100 to 75 LOE and carry 25 LOE on the Komen. Now my PI would like my to go back to NCI to ask for this. I am upset this should have been done at the time JIT was requested … Is this even possible to ask for at this late date? .. I don’t want to jeopardize my K99 or my relationship with the PO over this? What is the appropriate thing to do?

    sorry for the long post and thank you.
    -D

    • writedit said

      You will not jeopardize your K99 by talking with the PO or GMS about the Komen award and reallocating the budget. Multiple NOAs (notices of award) can be issued for the same application in the same year to adjust for changes in budget (both on the NIH side and the awardee side), and your PO will recognize that having both awards is a good thing for your career development and research. It sounds like your PI and grants administrator didn’t realize Komen would be willing to adjust their budget until after the fact. You will need to write a justification for reducing your effort to 75% (how the effort will be split and that the K99 aims can be achieved at 75% effort), but your PO can explain what is needed. Again, you don’t have to worry about losing your K99 as a result of asking. Worst case, they’ll say you can’t modify your K99 award, but I do not think this will be the case.

      Separately, I assume given your rapid award that you had an exceptional score, but I am sure there are those following the blog who would be interested to know what your score was, so they can calibrate their odds of funding.

  18. Daniele said

    Thank you so much for the advice. This site has been and continues to be a wealth of knowledge for me. I will get in touch with my PO and ask.

    I didn’t realize that the timing for K99 was rapid (it felt like forever). I had a score of an 11.

    thanks again.

  19. anyhope said

    Hello,
    I wrote late last year regarding a K01 resubmission application that received a score in the grey zone (review date was in Dec.) I’ve been in contact with my PO who has been extremely supportive during the process. After talking by phone post receiving the score and my PO anticipated having an internal meeting to review all grants from the cycle this have been our trend:
    Jan. 14 – My PO wrote to let me know that an internal meeting went well and there are no concerns about my K. The issue was what IC’s payline was going to be for the year. My PO also suggested that I work on a response to the summary statement and send for review.
    Jan. 22 – Submitted response to summary statement
    Jan. 27 – PO responded that the response looks good.

    I don’t want to be a nuisance to my PO, but when is an appropriate time frame to follow-up on potential funding? Or should I simply wait for my PO to email and let me know the final results?

    • writedit said

      Your PO probably needs to wait at least until Council meets. Council does not select applications to be paid, but they need to concur with IC funding plans, and at that point, your IC might be willing to set an interim payline for the Ks. If you don’t hear back a few days after Council meets, it could be that your PO also needs to wait until the next round of applications are reviewed and scored, so the IC knows the number of K01 applications scoring at each level. They pretty much set the payline based on how far the money will go, and they won’t know how far it needs to go until after the final review cycle (you can check the IC career development study section meeting date to know when that will be). My advice would be to check in with your PO again about a week after Council meets (if you have not heard anything yet) and ask whether an interim payline has been set or whether you will need to wait until the final round of K01 reviews have been completed.

  20. HS said

    I am working on my K23 application biosketch. I have well under the limit of 15 publications to list and am wondering if I should include 1) a published abstract and 2) two, peer-reviewed and published educational products (one CME course and one educational tool).

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • writedit said

      Yes, for early stage researchers, you can include items other than peer-reviewed original research reports, and your suggestions are fine (reviews, patents, software, etc. as well). You want to feature your contributions to the scientific community, particularly those directly relevant to the research (and in your case, training) being proposed.

      • HS said

        Many thanks!

  21. YJ said

    I just got a score of 25 and 14 percentile for my first A0-R01 applications to NIGMS. I am an ESI/NI, so I just wonder if anyone has a sense of likelihood of funding. It looks very difficult to predict for NIGMS since there is no payline and solid guideline for ESI/NI awards. Thanks!

    • writedit said

      If you look at the past funding trends, you will see that NIGMS does fund most 14th percentile awards, and ESI/NI would be most likely to be in the funded group. Now that the NIGMS appropriation is known, your PO should be able to give you some idea as to your funding likelihood and whether you should start working on the A1, but I would think you are likely to receive an award with that score.

      • YJ said

        Thanks! I will contact PO.

  22. BMcC said

    I am up for a R01 noncompetitve renewal and a pending supplement with NICHD which should have started on 2/1/2014 but I have not received my award notice yet. I have tried to contact my grants management contact a couple of times but they have not responded with concrete information. Does anyone know whether this is normal protocol for noncompetitive awards?

    • writedit said

      Because the ICs just got their appropriation, grants management staff are catching up on backlogged awards, including noncompeting renewals. I am not entirely clear on whether the noncompeting renewal or supplement should have started on Feb 1, but I assume the renewal (usually, but not always, supplements coincide with the parent award start date). You also don’t mention if this is an administrative or competitive supplement, so I am not sure if the decision to fund is pending or the issuance of the supplemental award. In general, though, you don’t need to worry about the delay in award. They would have told you if you needed to submit something (I assume your progress report was fine), so you should just be patient. You can also ask your PO, especially if there is any question about the supplement being awarded, but I am sure he/she will just say NICHD is behind on all awards still but working to get yours out.

  23. BrianM said

    Hi Writedit. After having almost given up hope, my Phase II SBIR status changed to pending on 02/04. First submission was 12/2012, scored as 38 but many positive comments from PO and reviewers. Second submission was 04/2013, scored 30. JIT request and discussion with PO prior to Council 9/2013. Nothing else until the status change. What’s funny is that my business partner and colleague just got his grant scored and it will also be funded. Feast or famine, it seems.

    • writedit said

      Congratulations and thank you so very much for sharing all your details here – especially giving hope to those who have almost given up. Best wishes for success with the project.

      • BrianM said

        How long does it usually take to go from “Pending” to a NoA? I checked to make sure my assurances are current, but I am not sure if there is anything else should be doing to make sure there are no snags.

      • writedit said

        Not to worry. It is not instantaneous, and with the backlog of awards to process, it could take a week or two. If the GMS needs anything from you, he/she will contact you. Otherwise, sit tight – and congratulations on the award.

  24. GM dude said

    NIGMS won’t be sending out NOAs for most Jan Council R01 grants that they want to fund for at least another month or two.

    • JTS said

      is this because they’re still sorting through the meritorious awards from september?

      • GM Dude said

        It takes a week or two (assuming no snow days) after Council meets to get all of the paperwork together and schedule a meeting to discuss all of the grants they want to fund. Then it takes a week or two for final adjusted budgets to get entered into a big spreadsheet. Then it takes a week or two for the spreadsheet to be double checked by the money folks and approved. Then you can expect a call from your PO, “Good News Everyone!” Then it takes several weeks to actually get the money sent to your institution.

        Things can go fast or slower depending on whether NIH actually has a real budget, how complicated the grant budget is, how much other stuff the POs and grants folks have to deal with etc….Not to mention how quickly PIs respond to Emails asking for more information. You might be surprised how lackadaisical (or maybe just disorganized) some PIs can be.

  25. BrianM said

    I was in the September NIGMS Council, my status went to ‘pending’ on the 4th.

    • JTS said

      we’re also a holdover from sept council (R01 mech., score=22, 7%), but team members already funded by NIH — i think we have to wait a while as NIGMS works through their priorities, as outlined in november

    • writedit said

      I meant to change my reply to a few weeks, and GM dude has clarified it could even be a couple of months. Yes, all the ICs are still sorting through fall and winter Council meeting pay lists and guestimating how much they need to save for the spring Council applications. Don’t that forget the federal government in DC has been shut down by weather sporadically this winter, too.

      • JTS said

        perhaps cupid might aim an arrow or two at NIGMS

        we all need a little love

        happy valentine’s day

  26. curious said

    Strange phenomenon–my RO1 was assigned to a study section that met 2/13 (last Thurs.). I checked the commons today and in the list of applications it indicated a ‘last status update’ of 2/14. When I pulled up the grant information, though, no score or any indication was listed (not ‘not discussed’ or anything). It looked like the page had not changed at all, despite ‘status update’ of yesterday. Has this happened to anyone before?

    • writedit said

      Nothing unusual. If the weather did not prevent your study section from meeting, just watch for a score on Mon or Tues.

  27. Frustrated said

    My PO has not responded to multiple (polite!) emails over 3 months asking for a phone call to discuss a resubmission. I have identified another PO in the same institute that might be interested in my work. Do you see any potential issues in naming this new PO in my resubmission cover letter?

    • writedit said

      Not at all, if you have made contact with this alternative PO and he/she is willing to accept your application. However, you don’t request a PO in your cover letter (just the IC and SRG), though you can mention this PO by name, so the SRO can make contact as needed/appropriate and to get your connection out there when the referral is made.

      • Frustrated said

        Thanks for the advice. By the way I bought the book and found it very helpful!

      • writedit said

        Great – thanks so much!

  28. YJ said

    Does anyone know the payline of NHLBI-R21 after the appropriation? My A0 application got 12 percentile, but the resubmission resulted a worse percentile (19%). I will contact PO after releasing summary statements, but I just want to know if anyone heard about payline changes after the appropriation.

    • writedit said

      Paylines will not be final until after this current round of reviews has been completed (ICs need to know the score spread for the full year to see how far their $ will go). However, your A0 application can still be considered for funding, and hopefully the payline will go up a notch or more from FY13.

  29. cautiously optimistic said

    I just got a score on an RO1 resubmission to NHLBI. The initial submission was as ESI, and my ESI status has since lapsed, but their website says they honor the ESI for any resubmission as long as you are still a New Investigator (unlike NIH overall, which gives you 13 months from the first submission). The current standard payline is 10th %ile, and that plus 5 for ESI, ie 15th %ile. My grant scored 12th %ile. My PO said it is ‘likely’ to get funded, and she considers it to be an ESI proposal, but will go through two more people for final approval for ESI status (where they check that i don’t have other NIH funding, which I don’t). So she said that POs can’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and the best thing she can say as a PO is ‘likely’. She also discussed getting my ducks in a row for JIT requests, especially IACUC approval. And that this will be put forward at the June 11th council meeting for earliest possible funding by July this year. This all sounds fantastic, and I have been working toward this for at least three years now submitting this proposal in various forms every other cycle. Is there any plausible way this can go wrong?? All indicators point to it being funded but of course i’m still nervous.

    • writedit said

      Just like your PO, I will say this indicates you should get an award, but no one promises anything until the NoA/NGA is issued. Her comment about the IACUC is apt: you want to be in a position where they can immediately issue the award, which means having IACUC approval before Council. This is especially important late in the FY, because the timing becomes important; if an IC cannot resolve an administrative issue quickly, it may move on to tap other applications for awards that it knows can be made (ie, all approvals secured & all JIT issues in order) before the FY runs out in September. So, yes, you can be cautiously optimistic – and focus on getting your IACUC approval and any other JIT info/certifications etc. ready by June if not before.

      • cautiously optimistic said

        Thanks for the advice!

  30. NewbiePI said

    Anyone get a score on R21 from NIA in CDIN study section? Review was yesterday and today – hoping the grant wasn’t triaged.

    • writedit said

      Patience – you’ll need to wait a day or two for your score to be entered. Maybe longer, depending on the number of applications. Everyone finds out at the same time. Good luck.

  31. NewbiePI said

    Thanks, what will it say under score if triaged?

    • writedit said

      Not Discussed (instead of an impact score) – also as current application status (will replace Pending IRG review)

  32. IntraNIA said

    If I recall correctly, it will say Not Discussed or ND, next to the “Priority Score” row on the left-middle side of the page. When my A0 K99 section met, the score was posted a day later. My PO indicates that it can vary depending on workload, weather, etc.

    Good luck!

  33. NewbiePI said

    Thanks, I got my score on A0 R21 at NIA.
    IF of 30, 19%.

    • writedit said

      Congratulations on getting scored – that is likely out of funding contention unless your PO thinks it is worthy of select pay, but you should have some good comments on the summary statement (which will likely take a few weeks to show up) to submit a strong A1.

      • NewbiePI said

        Thanks very much! Your input is, as always, is very much appreciated!

  34. tc said

    Can the NIH funding for a particular grant be partially used to support irrelevant research? What is the policy here?

    • writedit said

      Well, I would certainly hope no federal research dollars are spent on irrelevant research. If you mean work not directly related to the proposed aims, the answer is generally yes (you received a grant rather than a contract), but there is a governing policy in considering the degree and nature of any change in scope for the overall project itself: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2013/nihgps_ch8.htm#_Toc271264934

      “In general, the PD/PI may make changes in the methodology, approach, or other aspects of the project objectives. However, the grantee must obtain prior approval from the NIH awarding IC for a change in scope. A change in scope is a change in the direction, aims, objectives, purposes, or type of research training, identified in the approved project. The grantee must make the initial determination of the significance of a change and should consult with the GMO as necessary.” (see policy guide for details in making this determination)

  35. nk said

    I reached out to my PO after getting an email from her saying my R21 was not chosen for funding at NIDDK Council because other R21s scored higher. I then asked if NIDDK has any funds left at any point, could the R21 be considered for funding? Her reply, “At the end of the year, if there is money left over we sometimes look at prior Council rounds and fund a grant or two. That said, money is so tight these days that having funds left over is not the norm.” At what point in the year, if any, would you follow-up on this? What would be the best way to follow-up?

    • writedit said

      I assume this is an A1 – if not, you should definitely be working on the A1. Otherwise, they will have a better idea after the current round of reviews (since then they’ll know how many better-scored applications are ahead of yours), but the select pay decisions will probably not be made until June or so. However, it would be more encouraging if she gave some indication that she intended to advocate for your application, as they will fund some out of order on a case-by-case basis. She seems to suggest yours would be funded only if they got down to your application on the paylist (sequentially). I assume, if this was an A1, you have been working on other applications in the meantime. If not, this would be a good time to start (for June).

      • NK said

        Yes, this was an A1. I do have other grants in the pipeline. Yes, she did say that, “The main issue was score relative to the other grants that came in. Our pool of funds for R21 is not large and there were many grants competing for funds. Although your score was good there was also a fairly long list of grants with even better scores.” My score was a 26. Would you reach out again in June or just let this go? Thanks for all your adice.

      • writedit said

        You will definitely find out from her if you are being considered for an award (so don’t worry about losing a potential award because you didn’t stay in touch), but you probably won’t hear from her again if your application never makes it to the top of the list. If you need to know the final outcome, you could check again later in June. And if she will be your PO for any other applications, you could ask again later in the context of seeking other advice (oh, BTW …).

  36. Patrick said

    I submitted two different proposals to NIH recently and they were assigned to the same study section. What should I do?

    • writedit said

      If you requested different SRGs in your cover letters, you can communicate with the SRO of the study section you requested to see if he/she can take your application – the SROs do communicate about this, so you can find out why your application wen to one SRG versus another. If you did not make a request in your cover letter but you know of an SRG that might be better for one of the applications, you can contact that SRO to see if he/she would be willing to take the application. Your rationale for any of these requests cannot simply be that you do not want 2 applications at the same study section. You will need to provide evidence (based on publications, grant awards) that the reviewers on the panel to which you want your application moved are the most appropriate to review your science. If there is only one SRG appropriate for these applications and/or the SROs cannot accommodate transferring one of your applications to a different group, then you need to decide whether to have both reviewed this cycle or to with draw one and submit it next cycle (you do not lose a submission – you can submit next cycle as A0 or A1, depending on the status of the application when it was submitted this time).

      • Patrick said

        Thank you!. Will this situation (having two proposals in the same study section) eliminate my chance to win the funding? What is the major disadvantage?

      • writedit said

        Reviewers will be instructed to assess the scientific merit of each proposal individually (against itself/scientific ideal versus against other applications). If both of your applications have high scientific merit, they should both be scored well, though one will by necessity be ranked higher than the other. The question then is whether they are both assigned to the same IC for funding consideration. If so, unless the proposals address completely different research questions of equal interest/priority to the funding IC, one of your applications would probably be skipped (though I am sure it is not unheard of for one IC to fund two proposals to the same PI in the same Council round). In theory, if the science is distinct and exceptional, it shouldn’t matter – but this is a time of limited resources.

  37. tc said

    I wrote an RO1 in response to an RFA. The grant was reviewed by SEP but did not get funded. I plan to submit it to a regular study section. Would this be A0 or A1?
    Thanks

  38. CA Sun said

    I received a score of 17 for a K99/R00 app submitted to the NICHD, the payline last year was 18, eventually escalated to 19. How confident can I be since there have been no funding cuts for 2014..?

    • Sarah said

      If it helps, my K99, which scored 20, was ultimately funded by NICHD last year. My sense is you should be in good shape.

      • writedit said

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Sarah. Congratulations on the award and best wishes for success with your project and career in academic research!

      • CA Sun said

        Thank you for sharing that with me

    • writedit said

      I agree with Sarah that you should be fine. You can check in with your PO when you have your summary statement, but I suspect he/she will be cautiously (if not outright) optimistic.

      • CA Sun said

        Thank you, I have contacted and the word optimistic was used..fingers crossed! Thank you for the prompt response

  39. Airmonkey84 said

    I’ve posted a few times here before about my F32 to NIAMS. Appears that the payline actually was moved down significantly, from priority score of 24 (in 2013) to a priority score of 20 in 2014 per the most recent update (http://www.niams.nih.gov/about_Us/Budget/funding_plan_fy2014.asp). Any idea if these published paylines ever shift, or if these are likely the final paylines? In that case I should probably gear up for a resubmission. Thx!

    • writedit said

      Wow. Boy was I wrong (in assuming the payline would go up). This late, the payline is probably pretty close to final, since most study sections have met, and NIAMS has an idea of how many applications are scored at each percentile/impact score. They also know how much $ they have – and NIAMS only received a $1M increase over FY13 (which explains the lack of payline improvement). With the drop in payline, they probably have quite a number of very low-scoring F32 applications that they have no additional funds to cover. You should talk with your PO, but I am sure he/she will tell you to prepare an A1 for April. Hopefully you have been able to strengthen the training plan in the interim, and you can run this by the PO for advice, too. Thanks for the heads up on the updated NIAMS funding plan.

  40. tc said

    My grant received a fundable score. but I may need to relocate out of this country for a few years. Is this possible to defer the funding start date for a few years?

    • writedit said

      I do not think so, but you can check with your PO. You are approved for funding in a specific FY, and these funds cannot be carried over by the IC – they must all be spent by the end of the FY. For applications straddling FYs, maybe (but even then there would need to be high programmatic interest). Also, with such a long delay, I expect the concern would be that the field would have moved on since your original proposal, in which case the proposed project might no longer be significant in terms of its impact.

  41. Stellar said

    Still no comments on a scored R01 NCI study section met 2/20/14. I have a score, but no comments. Is there a requirement about when POs need to get these up or is it “working as hard as we can, we’ll get to it when we can” kind of thing?

    • writedit said

      tcgal is correct – the goal is to get them out in a month, but they can take up to 6 weeks. The priority is to get new/ESI summary statements out first, then the established PIs. I am not sure if there is a defined protocol for the order within these groups, so each SRO could have his or her own algorithm. The government was shut down yesterday – and probably another day since your study section met – due to weather, so there’s that, too. If you don’t have your SS by the end of March, you can check in with the SRO.

  42. tcgal said

    the go to response from CSR is “within 6 weeks” you will get your summary statement.. and its the SRO not the PO that writes these up. I also think that the work in order of best to worst score… seems you are still in the 6 week window-

  43. on_deadline said

    Mundane question, but I need help. As a grant specialist (contractor), I am assisting with an STTR submission. Aspects of application do not fit NIH guidelines: 1) biosketches have more than 15 publications & reference section does not include all authors nor have PMCID. I’m a stickler for details, but also paid by the hour. Should I fix these deviations to improve application’s chances?

    • writedit said

      The 15-publication limit is a suggestion, not a requirement, though I strongly urge PIs to abide by it. If they have just a few extra publications, especially if they are relevant, fine. But if they have pages of publications, they (not you) should pick the 15 most relevant citations. The literature cited does not need to include all PMCID – and if you mean the references on the biosketch, only those articles that are required to be deposited in PMC need to have PMCIDs. I assume only the PI would know which publications need to have PMCIDs (based on article date & type & whether the work was funded in whole or part by the NIH) – though I guess you could just check PubMed and add the ID for those that have one. Will any of this affect review? Not really. The PMCIDs are an administrative requirement, and the number of references may or may not piss off reviewers, depending on how far overboard they go, but it certainly won’t sink an application by itself.

  44. Vidya C said

    This is my first time on this site. My K23 received a score of 29 and was being reviewed by NIGMS. Since this was within their budget, the PO suggested transferring to NICHD. The revision was recently reviewed and got an impact score of 15. How are my chances of getting funded? NICHD seems to still not have any published paylines for FY2014. Was wondering when they are usually published.. Thanks.

    • writedit said

      I am not sure I understand what happened with NIGMS. Your research wasn’t in their area, or the score of 29 wasn’t fundable (which it probably wasn’t – but it wouldn’t have been at NICHD, either, so I’m puzzled by the suggestion to switch ICs). And did you request that your primary IC be switched from NIGMS to NICHD for the A1? The 15 should be a fundable score – especially at NIGMS but probably at NICHD as well. Your PO at NICHD should be able to give you an idea of your chances there, since all the applications are now in and scored.

      • Vidya C said

        Dear Writedit, I received request for JIT 10 days ago, and council meeting is tomorrow to review my A1 application for K23 (score of 15). Would you know how long NICHD generally takes after Council meeting to update regarding decision to fund or not? When do you think it is appropriate for me to contact the PO if I don’t see an update? I am guessing the place to look is on Commons. Thanks.

      • writedit said

        Aha – so, NICHD did pick up your application, which is great. Congratulations! Based on your score and the JIT request, I think the decision has already been made. You can either ask your PO for confirmation that you will receive an award, or you can wait for your eRA Commons status to change to Pending or Pending administrative review or something like this. The status change would not be for several days – maybe a couple of weeks, depending on how busy they are. I think a short email to the PO asking about the timeframe for the Notice of Award would be fine.

  45. Vidya C said

    Thanks for your response. The PO at NICHD said they will need to wait for new paylines for this year.

    • Vidya C said

      Dear Writeedit,This was the response I received from my PO – “The NICHD current payline for K is P.S. of 19. Your application has received a fundable score however it has to go through our May council for secondary review before considering for funding” Would you know how often does the council decide against funding when you have a fundable score? I am worried that she was not more positive in her reply. Thanks.

      • writedit said

        Not to worry at all … Council occasionally does not recommend research applications for funding, but this is rare and mainly in the case of very well-funded PIs (NIH-wide policy plus ICs often have their own) or applications with significant administrative issues. K applications are reviewed and scored within the IC, so these are already judged to be advancing the IC mission through their score. I would expect the only reasons a K application scoring within the payline might not be funded would be due to significant changes on the part of the applicant (career or personal status change, moving to institution that cannot support the research proposed, etc.). Your PO is just using standard NIH language to say you need to wait until June for an award.

      • Vidya C said

        Thanks for the encouraging reply. My K application was reviewed by an SRG in NIGMS and was then transferred to NICHD Would this make a difference to the Council at NICHD?

      • writedit said

        Not at all – NICHD clearly wanted the application and would not have taken it if they did not intend to fund it. Council will trust program on this, and I assume it makes sense in terms of the science (to be in NICHD).

      • Vidya C said

        Thanks again This is a great forum and you are really prompt with your responses!

  46. PCharles said

    I received a score of 23 on a first (and only) K99 submission. I say only because I’m one of the unlucky applicants who fall into the category of meeting the old criteria (can submit if PhD was completed no more than 5 yrs prior) but not the new criteria (4 yrs prior) and so have only one chance. As everyone knows, there’s no payline yet out but other writers on this site have suggested an interim of 20 until the final payouts are made and NICHD sees if there are any funds left for higher scores. My PO said she’d like to wait until they have the official paylines to talk. 1) Are there any special circumstances (like the one time applicant?) they might take into consideration? 2) Also, I received the JIT request but my mentor said to wait until I got the green light from the PO to submit and I read that everyone with a score under 40 gets the JIT. Should I wait? 3) Any wagers on my chances of getting funded? I think if yes, it’ll be close, very close. Thanks for any insight!

    • writedit said

      Given that you are no longer eligible to submit, your application could be given extra consideration for select pay, if your PO can make a strong case for you as a candidate and your science. If you have had any manuscripts accepted for publication since you applied, you could let your PO know. Your PO wants to wait for the paylines to be released (internally) to know whether she’ll need to make any special efforts on your behalf, but anything that might strengthen your case (like a new paper) would help at that point. You should wait until she asks for the JIT, but if you need IACUC, IRB etc., you definitely want that lined up now, so you can submit the JIT as soon as it is requested.

  47. PCharles said

    Hi again…regarding K99 score of 23 comment above. I should have clarified that I met the old criteria at the time of the first submission in 2013 but no longer meet the criteria now so can’t resubmit.

  48. AZoe said

    I got a K99 impact score of 17 from NIGMS on my first (and only, same situation as PCharles above) application. I feel like this is a good number, but with the opaque way that NIGMS does their funding, I basically have to wait around for the Advisory Council to feel confident about anything. Any advice or should I just stay in contact with the PO and keep my fingers crossed for the next few months?

    • writedit said

      You can check with your PO to gauge where you sit in the pile, since I assume the NIGMS K review committee has met by now. Your PO would have a rough idea of the number of applications that scored lower than yours, and you can get an idea of whether he/she will advocate for your application during paylist discussions.

      • AZoe said

        Thanks, that’s helpful. The review panel only met 2 days ago, so I don’t have my summary statement yet, haven’t heard from the PO yet. Should I wait until I get the summary statement before I contact the PO?

      • writedit said

        Yes, that is best, since you will then be able to discuss any concerns the reviewers had (your PO will need some ammunition in advocating for your award, if it is not clearly within the funding range). If you have any manuscripts under review (or accepted for publication) since your submission, this would be important news to pass along as well. Your PO can also give other advice on next steps, such as an alternative K activity code, if you are eligible, or an RPG. That’s a good score, though, so hopefully you’ll be okay with the K99.

    • AZoe said

      I did end up getting funded and thought I would share my K99 timeline, since I found it helpful to read others’. It’s an excruciatingly slow process. I was especially surprised by how long I had to wait after the Council meeting.

      Oct 2013: submit application
      March 2014: Study Section meets, get impact score
      Late May 2014: Council meets
      Mid June 2014: 3 weeks+ after council met, PO finally calls with news. Says they hope to have NOA issued by July.
      September 1st, 2014: NOA issued

      • writedit said

        Congratulations and best wishes for success with your project and career in academic research. That is not an unusual delay, depending on the IC – though if your PO thought the award would be made about on time (July 1), there must have been quite a bureaucratic backlog.

  49. Teddy said

    Hi, Writedit, My PO used the word “cautiously optimistic” to describe the status of my grant. What exactly does that mean?

    • writedit said

      It means, assuming your administrative ducks are in a row, and barring anything strange and unexpected happening, you will probably receive an award. Be happy.

  50. ACG said

    Hello all, after doing a pretty exhaustive search I have been unable to find a good answer for the following question: Does the payline for F31-Diversity differs from that of the F31 fellowship (in this case NHLBI), and if so, what would you think is a reasonable margin (1, 5, even 10 percentile points?).
    Thanks!

    • writedit said

      The payline is the same for any applications for that activity code (F31), but I assume (though do not know) that the diversity applications may get extra consideration for select pay (or have a de facto higher payline if the funds for that PA go farther due to fewer applications in the pool). However, it is not like ESI/new investigator payline breaks for R01s (with a definite percentile break in payline).

      • ACG said

        Thanks for your reply. I find it curious that there are no statistics regarding this topic, especially with statements like “NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity”. How are they gauging their success?

      • writedit said

        Some ICs only participate in the diversity program announcement (not the main parent announcement). As I said before, at ICs that participate in both announcements, I am sure if need be, they would go above the overall F31 payline to ensure enough diversity applications are picked up – but I also don’t know if they already factor in both ranges of scores when setting the payline. You can certainly ask your PO at this point how your score looks for FY14.

  51. Teddy said

    Hi, Writedit, my PO indicated “cautiously optimistic” on my grant. What exactly does that mean?

    • writedit said

      It means I need to do a blog post (in the main section) about what this means. ;) It means, barring unexpected administrative issues or other events beyond his/her control, you should get an award – the PO just can’t say so definitively at this point.

  52. F32 Application said

    I just received news from my program officer at NICHD. I had a F32 impact score of 24 and percentile of 21. She said that a few days ago she received news that the payline for NICHD will be for the 23 percentile and below, so I should definitely receive news of my funding of application in June or July. Things are looking up for everyone!!!! :)

    • writedit said

      Great – thanks so much for sharing this update, and congratulations! Best wishes for success with your project and your career in academic research.

    • Vidya C said

      Hi, F32 Application, congrats on your score and funding! I am checking for 2014 NICHD payline updates everyday and do not see them posted yet. Seems like the payline has improved from 2013 for the F32 (per your PO). I have a score of 15 on my K23 A1 and am wondering when I will know.. so your post is encouraging!

      • writedit said

        Since you are below the FY13 payline for Ks (18), you should be fine, and I assume your PO was encouraging. Your PO may know more by now, depending on when you last communicated, in advance of the paylines being updated online.

  53. Sequenceman said

    Hi Writedit,
    We’re waiting on a decision on an R21. The score was decent (25) and after council the PO said “cautiously optimistic”, which was great to hear.

    However, the proposed start date has already passed and this was set up by the RFA. Should we be concerned? I don’t want to bug the PO too much and was curious if you’ve heard of NIH grants getting funded after the start date (I haven’t but my experience is limited). Thanks for any advice!

    • writedit said

      The start date is irrelevant – this is used to indicate the rough timing of an award assuming everything else is on time (federal budget especially). The ICs are backed up with Cycle 1 & 2 awards, so don’t worry about the delay and missing your start date. And congratulations on the excellent score and cautiously optimistic PO.

  54. louis md said

    Hi writedit,

    Have a similar question. Submitted a job application to NIH within the Global Recruitment Program. After 3 weeks of closing date I received notification saying “You might receive several communications if you apply for more than one grade”. Within the same notification I was informed I didn’t qualify for the highest grade, which I expected. I haven’t received anything else after that. It is almost 5 weeks and half since closing date. Does the delay suggest any hope in being selected for a lower grade?. Or has it to do with agreements among ICs on needs, budgets or the like?. I appreciate your insights.

    • writedit said

      I believe the first message was an automatically generated notice since the posting had more than one pay grade available. You can log into your USA Jobs account to check the status of your application, and you can send an email to the contact person listed. I am not sure you always hear back if you are not considered for the position, but you bad news sooner than good, and your application status will indicate whether has been referred for further consideration.

  55. tcgal said

    A question regarding a junior researcher that i am mentoring. How does a K01 award recipient go about budgeting her time on a R03/R21? i know that these are allowable while doing a K01- but is the investigator’s effort “in kind”? we are getting ahead of ourselves, as the K01 hasnt been awarded yet- but her score was 16 (initial app), and we are awaiting the news. she is thinking of submitting something for June deadlines.

    • writedit said

      If she hasn’t received the K01 award, she should proceed as if she does not have one – but I expect she will know before June 16. In that case, while I believe she could have effort on someone else’s award (less than 25% effort, to ensure she has at least 75% effort for the K01), she cannot be the PI until the last 2 years of her K award (see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-08-065.html). However, some ICs have their own special R03 PAR limited to K awardees from their IC (e.g.,, http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-12-285.html). If this is one of those ICs, then she should wait to receive the K01 and then apply for the R03 through the appropriate FOA.

  56. Fannex said

    Does anyone know why my JIT link is not appearing 7 weeks after initial review if my score is well under 40? Should I interpret this as meaning anything negative or does it mean an email will be coming with a JIT request instead?

    • writedit said

      I don’t know why the JIT link hasn’t been activated, but I do know you don’t need to worry about its absence. The eRA Commons link is meaningless without a personal request from the PO or GMS. You can check with your PO by this point for an inkling of where you stand (though probably nothing definitive yet), especially if you applied in response to an RFA. Now, if there are any other issues with your eRA Commons account, you can check with their help desk, which is responsive and helpful.

      • Fannex said

        Thanks for the peace of mind and the advice. This blog is such a nice resource. Congrats on your new book!

  57. curious post doc said

    Just got a 23 priority score on our u01, no percentile. Any idea how to gauge this score?

    • writedit said

      Depends on the IC and whether this was investigator-initiated or submitted in response to a PAR or RFA. Basically, think in terms of an R01, but check with your PO, especially if this was a special solicitation (you won’t get a percentile), when you have your summary statement. At that point, you can discuss next steps if need be, but that should be a good score.

  58. tc said

    Are adjunct professor working part time eligible for NIH grant applications?
    Thanks

    • SG said

      Probably not. But, it is up to your school to determine if you can be a PI. NIH awards research grants to institutions not people…technically.

      • tc said

        I am under the impression that federal laws requires that you must work full time at an institution to be eligible for grant application. Am I wrong?
        Thanks

      • writedit said

        The federal government makes research awards to the university or other research institution, not to the individual. It is up to the institution to decide who can apply for grant funding, but generally it needs to be a permanent full-time employee, since they (the university/institution) are investing institutional resources in the application and award management processes etc.

    • writedit said

      As SG said, probably not as PI (the same is generally true for postdocs and instructors), but you should be able to be included as key personnel on another PI’s application. You can ask your Department Administrator or Office of Sponsored Programs about your institution’s policy.

  59. mattl said

    Hello,

    This forum is great, its been great for understanding more about the process. I submitted a K22 to NCI and my application got an impact score 36, outside the funding limit. I am waiting for the comments so that I can resubmit back in July. I am just worried whether this score is way outside the funding limits to come back in the resubmission. Is the impact score of 36 within the high impact group based on NIH funding factors. Please let me know your thoughts about this.

    thanks again.

    • writedit said

      Your PO should have good advice based on the discussion, and your summary statement will give you an idea of whether the reviewers are encouraging you to resubmit (ie, they like you a lot as a candidate but have specific concerns about the project or your training/transition plan). I generally view scores in the 30s-40s as the best of the non-funded options, since it suggests there are specific fixable issues that will drop the score, whereas a score in the 20s might not be easily improved (no obvious things to fix in the summary statement), and scores above 50 usually suggest lack of significance or major problems with the approach (overall design vs details). But lots of exceptions, and each case is individual. Again, your PO and your mentor will be able to guide you specifically, but I would certainly encourage working toward resubmission (getting another paper in the pipeline would be great, integrate updates from the literature/scientific meetings since you submitted, etc.).

      • mattl said

        Thanks a lot for your prompt reply, I really appreciate it.

  60. Earl E. Researcher said

    I am working under my first NIH grant funding as a PI. I am wondering what work I can and should attribute to my grant. For instance when submitting manuscripts, should I only cite the grant for work that was specified in my aims or can more general guidelines be applied? I see many cite their grants in review articles. Is this appropriate? Can you cite your grant if you are doing similar work with another drug (and it is helping you to refine your methods for the funded work)?

    I really appreciate advice and opinions.

    • writedit said

      Some PIs are very liberal in their assignment of publications to their grant. If your salary, and hence your ability to write anything (including review articles), comes from the NIH, then citing this support is appropriate. This is why grad students on felllowships or T32s have these sources cited – their stipends rather than any actual supplies etc. dollars makes their contribution possible. The NIH has no specific guidance on what is appropriate in terms of linkage (“Report publicationsresulting directly from this grant”), while the NIH Public Access Policy “applies to all peer-reviewed articles resulting from research supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH”. Now, if grant funding for one project leads to a different research direction, by all means, the original grant should be cited (since likely your renewal will incorporate new aims derived from this offshoot work) – you need not limit yourself to reporting publications related to the proposed aims alone. For the review articles, if it is linked to the funded area or the new offshoot area (you needed to research this field to develop these new aims), I have no qualms listing these publications. Your PO wants you to list anything possibly linked – the NIH wants to show Congress that the money being appropriated is being productively spent.

      As a side note, you want to cite the actual grant number (eg, R01CA8675309 – at the very least, keep the IC & serial number together, e.g., CA8675309) rather than the title, and not writing out National Cancer Institute etc. POs search PubMed by your grant number to find publications linked to their portfolio.

      • LNS said

        I thought this was a really good question. In case it is helpful to anyone else, I wanted to share what I learned during my recent K07 progress report. Since the K-award funds career development, I was told that all publications written or published during the funding period should be associated with my grant (even if the reported data were not collected on my K studies or I was not a primary author). I am funded at 100% so, technically, everything I do is supported by my award. This seems obvious as I write it, but I wasn’t clear about it until my PO pointed this out to me. Hope this helps others!

      • writedit said

        Great – thanks for sharing your experience, and especially pointing out that you do not need to only list first or last author papers … even middle author on someone else’s paper counts (NIH paid for your time on the project). Also, for those of you with RPG or P-mechanism funding, papers that you are not even an author on but whose authors were supported by your research funding (e.g., collaborators writing about their piece of the overall project) should be listed (per NIH policy).

  61. tcgal said

    AWESOME question! and i cant wait to see the responses. I personally do cite the grant in papers that are very closely related to the topic or methods- but have yet to see guidelines and would really like to know what others do..

  62. Earl E. Researcher said

    very helpful. thank you!!!

  63. methylene said

    Does anyone know the timeline for receipt of award/status once contact has been made by the PO stating “your application is being considered for funding”?

    Submitted F32 A0 August 2013, placed with NCI
    Received Scores November 2013, Percentile: 22
    Contacted by PO April 2014, Sent RCR corrections/proof of degree

    Thanks

    • writedit said

      They’ll contact you again closer to the award date, but anywhere from a couple weeks to a month or more, depending on the backlog at NCI. I would think by now they are catching up, but the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly (& don’t worry if your start date has passed).

  64. Emaderton3 said

    I submitted a proposal for a NIAMS new investigator R03 in November, 2013. I recently got my impact score which was a 29. NIAMS is using their FY2014 R03 funding policy even for this specific PAR, so they are funding up to an impact score of 20. While I will have to wait and see my reviews to see if I can realistically better my score by 9 points, I wanted to know if there was data out there describing how often a grant is pulled for funding that is beyond the funding limit criteria for this Institute.

    • writedit said

      Most ICs set aside 3-10% of their new award funds for select pay decisions. If you look at the ICs with R01 funding trend data, you can see they are willing to go up percentiles in the low 40s to make awards – but these are individual applications tapped for a specific reason. Your PO needs to advocate for this to happen – it isn’t random – so if he/she is enthusiastic about your work, you could ask if they did this (if he/she did not already say you would need to wait until the end of the FY to find out for sure).

      • Emaderton3 said

        Thanks. Through a few emails, I did not detect any “enthusiasm” but more standard replies. Again, the reviews will probably be the most helpful at this time. Now, can someone move a R03 9 points??? (I did better a K award by 8.)

      • writedit said

        Not impossible – depends on if there is something fixable or if the reviewers just weren’t that enthusiastic.

      • Emaderton3 said

        How often do Institutes change their paylines during a given fiscal year? I saw a comment somewhere on here that some were updated for a specific institute. FYI–I am not getting email notifications that replies have been left to my comments even though I am selecting that option.

      • writedit said

        Some ICs change them throughout the year – some only set them once at the end of the FY (to reflect what they funded). Many do not ever publish a public payline. By now, any IC offering publicly posted interim paylines that has removed the “interim” status probably will not change them again … but it could. I am not sure how WordPress manages the notification of replies, but you can check with their support (http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/).

      • Emaderton3 said

        So these would probably be permanent (I am assuming with slight adjustments if they get too many or too little good scores):

        http://www.niams.nih.gov/about_Us/Budget/funding_plan_fy2014.asp

      • writedit said

        Updated April 16, probably. They have all the scored applications in hand now so know what the spread of scores looks like and how far their budget can go.

      • Emaderton3 said

        FYI–they only take direct support inquiries from people who have paid for the upgrade (which I assume means members that run a site through them) . . .

      • writedit said

        I have not paid for the upgrade that gets me access to support. I do this completely on a voluntary basis on my own time (not as part of my paid position at BICO).

      • Emaderton3 said

        BTW what is BICO?

      • writedit said

        BICO = Baby It’s Cold Outside (especially apt description for this past winter)

      • Emaderton3 said

        Ok lol. Was checking if you had changed locations\jobs.

    • Emaderton3 said

      Just got the JIT email request. How hopeful should I be?

      • writedit said

        Cautiously. They (PO and/or GMS) don’t request JIT unless an award is likely (don’t have the time to do the work if no award anticipated) – but it’s not a guarantee. You can ask your PO to confirm whether an award is in line for processing or if this is just to be prepared in case your application is tapped.

      • Emaderton3 said

        Newer guidelines suggest that all submissions with an impact score of 40 or better get JIT requests regardless of paylines. Is this always true or is getting JIT still an indicator of possible funding?

      • writedit said

        If the request was automatically generated by eRA Commons, it means nothing. If you received an email request from your PO or GMS, then you’re under consideration for an award.

      • Emaderton3 said

        It appears to be from Commons. I was always told to ignore JIT in Commons but getting an email was a different story. Time to wait it out.

        Thanks!

      • Emaderton3 said

        Time for a long overdue update. I resubmitted this grant later in the year, and the resubmission got a priority score of 17 which is below the 2015 payline cutoff of 20. Council meeting was last week, but I have not heard anything yet. However, I think it would be reasonable to assume that I may get this one!

      • writedit said

        Congratulations on the 12-point improvement in score! It can take a couple of weeks after Council for anything to happen, especially since they probably did not get their appropriation until January, so no worries there. You can check with the PO for an idea about the timing, but I assume everything will be wrapped up in time for an on-time April 1 start.

      • Emaderton3 said

        I got my official JIT request from the Institute today. So in this case, it took only one week after the council meeting.

      • writedit said

        Cool beans – congratulations again.

  65. madness007 said

    My R00 was funded with a 10% cut, and I was wondering for budgeting purposes if there’s a snowballs chance that I’ll get this money back or not? And if it were to be re-funded, would I need to do anything to check on it or would it just magically happen?

    • SG said

      If the cut was due to NIH not having a budget in the beginning of the fiscal year then Yes, you could ayutomatically get the money back. If the cut was an administrative cut by your funding institute then No, your snowball has no chance. The best way to find out is to contact the grants specialist listed oin your Notice of grant Award (NGA). It should also say in the NGA but it can be hard to find.

  66. YJ said

    NHLBI increased payline to11% for R01/R21. I discuss with the PO about next step of my application received 12 % and he said there may be still a chance of my application for funding later this fiscal year. Has anyone received the award from NHLBI with a percentile outside institutional payline?

    • writedit said

      All ICs make select pay awards above the payline on a case by case basis, so if your PO is saying you may have a chance at being selected, this is good news, though a long long way from a guarantee. You might ask if he would like a response to concerns in the summary statement, in case he needs to make a case for your application. Of course, you can now submit as an A0 (if your 12th percentile was an A1 – and if it was an A0, definitely resubmit as an A1).

      • Emaderton3 said

        So a A0 submitted in February could be resubmitted as a A1, then resubmitted as an A0 if not funded? I guess I am asking whether the A0 has to be submitted after the April 16th deadline?

      • writedit said

        An application submitted in February (either A0 or A1, in March) would not be reviewed yet (no summary statement until June-July), so the next iteration of that Feb application could not go in until October/November. But, you could submit it then as either an A0 or an A1, depending on whether it strategically made sense to include or skip the Introduction (and whether you needed the extra month to work on the application). The policy starts now: any previously submitted application that has a summary statement issued can be submitted this June (A0)/July (A1).

  67. brain child said

    R01 reviewed last Fall, scored in grey area (19% percentile). Last week PO (very supportive throughout whole process, was a great advocate for my K99 award in 2010) indicated funding for May council was “very promising” but that “nothing is official until you receive a NoA”. Said to wait a week or two for more info. Today, Commons status changed from “council review completed” to “pending administrative review”. No request for JIT yet from GMS or PO, but then again the status just changed today. What does it mean?

    • writedit said

      It means congratulations are in order (almost). Your application is being processed for an award, which will likely be issued, pending confirmation there are no administrative issues that might interfere with this. You should get a JIT request soon (you could ask, since your status has changed, if you should prepare this now). Hopefully you have any necessary approvals (IACUC, IRB, etc.) and training certifications in hand.

      • brain child said

        In case it is helpful, here is the full timeline for a New Investigator/ESI R01 awarded by NIDA in FY14. Thank you for this site, it is very helpful!

        01/2012 to 09/2012 – formulated and drafted A0 R01 application
        10/04/2012 – A0 submitted
        02/14/2013 – A0 reviewed, scored 46, 44 pct (score not fundable but critiques addressable)
        03/2013 to 06/2013 – largely re-wrote application, collected more data, changed one aim to address critiques
        07/03/2013 – A1 submitted
        10/2013 – government shut down delayed scheduled review of application
        11/20/2013 – A1 reviewed, scored 27, 19 pct (described as “on the bubble” by PO)
        01/2014 – NIH budget for FY14 passed by Congress
        02/05/2014 – application passed over for funding by NIDA at Feb. council, program staff indicated a better chance later in the FY
        04/23/2014 – application selected for funding, status changed to “Pending Administrative Review”
        05/12/2014 – preemptive JIT submission
        06/2014 – first engagement by NIDA grants management specialist
        07/2014 – more interaction with NIDA grants management
        07/28/2014 – status changed to “Award Prepared”
        08/01/2014 – Notice of Award issued

      • writedit said

        Congratulations and thank you so much for posting such a comprehensive and helpful timeline! (especially the 10 months preparing the A0 application and all the government interruptions of the grant process) Best wishes for success with your project and your career in academic research!

  68. CF ESI said

    I am an ESI and PI for a multi-center clinical trial proposal to NHLBI. This is reviewed by Clin Trials Rev Committee and they give impact scores but not percentiles for these grants (RO1, converted to UO1 if multi-PI but that is not our case). I had a very helpful discussion with the PO today but we are not certain if or how ESI affects the pay line when a percentile is not given. I did see a percentile briefly in eraCommons when my summary statement was posted but it was removed and I don’t know if it was accurate. We are planning our A1 and it would be nice to know if I’ll benefit from ESI status or not, given that percentiles are apparently not assigned. Thank You.

    • writedit said

      If your summary statement notes your ESI status, program will take that into account when making award decisions, which will be made based on impact scores from the group of multisite R01 applications from all cycles – they’ll rank by score and then assess programmatic interest/priority for each trial – and also see how many ESI applicants are where in the pile. It sounds like your ESI status has expired; based on current NIH policy, if you resubmit the A1 within 13 months of the A0 submission (not review), you will retain ESI consideration for the A1 (http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/investigator_policies_faqs.htm#2727).

  69. RD said

    I got a score of 32 for a NCI K22 submission. Does any one know what the payline for the 2014 NCI K grants are? The PO refuses to comments on the possibility of funding. The scoring is all over the place.
    For e.g, one reviewer gave a score of 1 for the research plan and the other gave a 4. One reviewer gave a score of 3 for the candidate and the other gave a 2 with no weakness specified. Any comments would be appreciated!!!

    • writedit said

      Well, that is almost certainly too high to be fundable, so you should ask your PO for resubmission strategy advice. He/she would have attended the meeting so would know which reviewers carried the discussion and what concerns to focus on. Ignore (mostly) the individual scoring and concentrate on the Resume & Summary of Discussion.

  70. Jeff said

    Dear WriteEdit,

    I am on a K-23 (starting year 3 soon) and have some reasonably good data and my mentor thinks I am ready to apply for an RO1. I transferred my K right after I got it to another institution (this took about a year) and as a result, NHLBI extended the K for an extra year since I didn’t use any of the money the first year. I always planned on trying for an RO1 to start year 4 of my K (trying is the key word of course), but it looks like the rules say that I must be in the last 2 years of my K to be able to have effort on an RO1. Any thoughts on how to get around this or since my K is for 6 years, am I stuck waiting an extra year to apply?
    Thanks for your thoughts!

    • writedit said

      You can talk with your PO, who can let you know about what flexibility they have in your situation, but I would think they could be flexible.

  71. overcommitted said

    I have an RO1 pending at NHLBI at a fundable score–I just got the JIT request! They ask for current support, pending, and planned. I am 50% on this award, and I have another submitted RO1 pending review, where I have proposed 50%. Because I”m VA funded, this will exceed my allowable coverage! Do they count the %effort for the grants pending review? Any tips for preparing this page are appreciated. I certainly don’t want to screw anything up at this stage!!!

    • writedit said

      No, they don’t count pending awards when issuing this award. If you are fortunate enough to get the second R01, then there will be negotiations to both awards to address the effort (reduce your effort on each). Neither award will be in jeopardy, so don’t hesitate to ask your PO questions should the need arise to reallocate effort.

  72. postdoc_nrsa said

    Hi writedit – many thanks for maintaining this terrific site. I’m waiting on an NRSA that will likely begin this summer, but the NRSA salary will be lower than the postdoc salary at my current institution. I’ve asked if they would be willing to make up the difference, but they are tentatively saying no, citing cost-sharing risks (i.e., two separate federal sources funding the same work). Is this true? It seems somewhat odd to me, particularly because my work involves research costs which can’t be covered by an NRSA alone, so there’s going to be some overlap between the two funding sources, at least in that sense. Any guidance is appreciated – thanks.

    • writedit said

      Many pre and postdoc trainees supported by NRSA funds have their stipends supplemented by their institution. You couldn’t be given % effort on the budget of your advisor’s award (which I assume is what will cover your research costs), since you must be 100% on the NRSA (this is the overlap issue), but your department could use other funds to make up this difference, including indirects from your advisor’s award.

  73. Gary said

    I received a 15% on an R21 that I re-submitted and that will be reviewed mid-May. I have additional data and experiments to propose so I want to submit basically an expanded version of the R21 as an R01. Now if my re-submitted R21 does not get a score (which I will know by the third week of May) that is clearly fundable, I want to turn around and submit the R01 for June. While I know I should wait for the summary statement, I want to do this for time reasons. However, it will get flagged as a similar grant to my R21 currently under review. Will I get notified of this and be asked what I want to do (e.g. withdraw the R21) or am I better off contacting them (the PO?) and requesting them upfront to withdraw the unfundable R21? When there is overlap does the PI always get asked what they want to do to alleviate the issue or do they (CSR?) decide to decline a submission without contacting the PI. Thanks!

    • writedit said

      The issue is having two applications under review at the same time. You could ask the PO for advice about withdrawing the R21 now, prior to the study section meeting, in which case you could go ahead with the R01 in June (but have no feedback from the R21). If you want to see what happens with the R21, you could get your R01 ready and check with your PO after the study section meets. You can’t submit the R01 if the R21 might be considered for funding at Council. On the other hand, if the R21 does not score well, you probably want to receive the summary statement before submitting the R01 to address concerns reviewers had about the science (especially if the score goes up from your 15th percentile), which might force you to wait until Ocober anyway. I’d suggest you contact the PO now to decide whether to withdraw now and, if not, what your best course of action will be after the study section meets. Your PO would need to be involved no matter what, so better to explain what you are considering sooner than later.

  74. Mark said

    Any chance/case that an R21 scored right on the payline not to be funded?

    I have an R21 scored 11%, institutional payline is 11%, council meeting completed Feb 25, since then nothing has changed in the ecommons status, the PO told me that there had been an unexpected delay in processing the award….I am becoming more anxious, cause this R21 is currently critical for my lab….thinking about what IF NOT is….:(

    so, anyone out there that a grant at payline was not funded?

    Thanks!
    Mark

    • writedit said

      Well, if your PO is talking about a delay in processing the award (vs making a decision about whether to make an award), then you should be okay. Paylines go up to and include the stated number (so, 11th percentile will be funded as within the payline). If there is an administrative issue (related to IACUC, IRB, etc. approval or other policy issue), they will let you know and give you a chance to address. Not sure when you last communicated with the PO, but you can ask for a status update and whether you can arrange for the spending 90 days in advance of the award notice (something you would then arrange with your department/sponsored programs office).

      • mark said

        thank you Writedit!

        The last communication with my PO was last week, there shall not be any administrative issues…Thanks for the 90-days suggestion…

        Mark

  75. Mark said

    Dear Writedit,

    is it normal that 9-weeks after the council meeting no decision has been made for a grant at the payline?

    • writedit said

      Not typical, but not abnormal. This is a large bureaucracy after all. If you have not communicated with PO or GMS in this timeframe, you could check on the status. If you have been in touch but were told to be patient, you could check in to ask when you will be within 90 days of the award (for pre-award spending planning).

  76. Karen said

    Dear Writedit,

    I got a DP2 score of 21, is it likely to be funded? As the statement summary is not available, should I contact PO asking for funding possibilities?

    thanks.

    Karen

    • writedit said

      You should probably wait for the summary statement until you contact the PO, who cannot tell you anything at this point since they do not use scores alone to select awardees. When you have the summary statement, if there are informative critiques, you can ask not only about your funding likelihood (based on score and review) but also whether you should address the concerns.

      • Karen said

        very helpful! thanks so much.

    • sand said

      Hi, Karen,
      Did you get any information for your DP2 grant? When will we get the notice of grant award of DP2 this year? Thanks.

  77. Molly said

    Dear Writedit,

    I applied for a NIH grant that will be reviewed 6/26/14. If I get a good score I will need to submit a “just in time” including IACUC approval (and I don’t have an AUP yet). That would be no problem except that I will be moving to a different institution in August and if funded I would, of course, like to take the grant with me. If I write an AUP and have it approved here, I am afraid that this institution would have some additional arguments to try to keep the grant if funded (apparently this happened here before). I could contact my new institution and have it approved there but since I will not be moving until August, I am afraid that it will be too late for a just in time, plus I don’t think it is possible to send a grant from an institution with an IACUC approval from another. What is your recommendation?

    Thanks a lot,

    Molly

    • writedit said

      Don’t worry about anything – you will be fine on timing. I assume you submitted your application in February, which means it would not go to Council until this fall (after you move); this is when you would need JIT, if your score is competitive. In theory, the earliest start date would not be until December, but it will be much later than that due to midterm elections this year (federal budget will be delayed as a result). So, you should have plenty of time to relocate, write up your protocol, and secure IACUC approval at your new institution (assuming your score is within or near the projected payline – which also won’t be known until some time in 2015). If you receive a competitive score, you will want to be in touch with the PO when you move, including confirmation that you can conduct the research as proposed (and reviewed), and they can issue the award to your new institution.

  78. Molly said

    You are really fantastic and so quick in answering. Your site is a much needed asset to all of us. Thank you so much.
    Yes, I submitted in February. Unfortunately I forgot about this year elections….. this is going to lengthen the time to funding considerably.

  79. Rachel said

    Hello!

    I received my NIAMS F30 score back some months ago (Impact of 28, 23rd percentile). At the time, I emailed my PO to ask about my chances, and she said I wasn’t totally out of the running yet, and that the pay line might go up. It did: from 21 to 24. So, I’m still above the pay line…What are my chances, do you think? And how long does it take to find out one way or the other, on average?

    The next NIAMS council meeting is tomorrow (June 3), and I’d just like to know what I can expect to see, whether successful or not. In the meantime, I’m preparing for my next A0 application…

    Thanks so much for your help!

    • writedit said

      You should definitely prepare and submit again. The payline will not go up again, but you can ask your PO about select pay (selection for an award above the payline). There is no official notice that you will not receive an award, so you would only hear something if you were going to be funded (or unless you ask). You can also ask the PO for advice on your next application, in terms of what you decided to change and strengthen. She can provide insight on what program would like to see and probably knows your study section, too (might have insight about the discussion that wasn’t captured in the summary statement).

      • Rachel said

        Thanks for your quick response! I guess I’ll be pestering my PO about it again.

  80. researcher said

    Hi writedit,

    This is the best Q-A resource available! fantastic job.
    My question is: when should I hear whether my grant was approved by Council for select pay or bridge?

    • writedit said

      Council does not approve applications for select pay – they just approve applications being considered for awards (whether they are within or beyond the payline). The IC Director makes final decisions, and your PO plays the most important role in pushing for your proposal to be considered. If you are on the pay list, a select pay decision could come as late as September (ICs go down the paylist to pay awards until the $ runs out). Your PO can give you an idea where you are on the list (I assume your PO has already indicated he/she will push for select pay). You should certainly submit another application if possible in the meantime (i.e., hopefully you are not waiting to hear about this pending application before submitting another).

      • researcher said

        Thanks for your response.

      • researcher said

        Hi, going back to the list, how far up in the list you need to be to get funded based on recent cycles? top 2? top 5?

        Thanks,

      • writedit said

        This depends on the IC and the science of the projects under consideration for select pay. These awards are not necessarily in rank order, so there is no rule of thumb. Your PO’s level of enthusiasm for your application and how hard he/she pushed for funding consideration are the most important factors.

  81. ImpactFactorNeuron said

    Hi writedit, thank you so much for this extraordinary blog.

    I was recently told that the budget of my pending R01 will be cut by about 20%. The PO wanted to know if I would like to revise my specific aims if the cut will affect execution of the original specific aims. Since this is a significant cut, and the animals to be used are expensive, I would like to revise the aims (remove one of the aims, and then split the remaining 2 aims into 3). However, I am not sure if doing this will “upset” NIH and negatively impact my official award.
    In addition, since I will essentially remove 1 specific aim, can I reduce animal numbers at this stage? My grant status is currently “pending administrative review”

    • writedit said

      Your PO specifically asked this because he/she knows you cannot achieve your approved aims with that much less money. You can absolutely negotiate all this with him/her and not risk losing your award or making anyone upset. First, rewrite the aims the way you feel capable of achieving them with the 20% cut (remove one aim, split the others). Indicate the number of animals that must be cut to accommodate the lower budget. You need to show this to the PO first – maybe you can get some money added back as part of the discussion. If not, again, don’t worry about making anyone upset at the NIH. Your Notice of Award will reflect the revised aims so that is what you are judged against in terms of whether you have made appropriate progress and achieved your aims, both for noncompeting renewals and your competing renewal (progress is based on the revised aims vs the original ones originally reviewed by study section – whatever you propose for your revised aims, you need to be able to achieve them with the budget available).

      • ImpactFactorNeuron said

        Thank you so much!!!

  82. tc said

    I have a project funded by NIH, but I may have to close down my lab and move to another country, where I will continue to work on this project. What will happen to my NIH grant? Will the NIH take back the remaining money, or my current institution the US can transfer the grant to other faculty?

    • writedit said

      The award is made to your current university, so they need to relinquish all or part of the award – usually not a problem, depending on the research. The NIH does make awards to foreign institutions, but whether you can take any of the award with you depends on if the future institution has the facilities to conduct the research as proposed and the type of work. (I am assuming you are the PI – if you are a co-investigator on someone else’s award, it is up to them whether to have someone else do your portion of the project or subcontract to your new institution.) I think the State Department might get involved, too. Y ou can ask your PO how this would be handled on the NIH side – and you should do so early, as the PO must be involved months before you intend to try to move the award.

  83. ImpactFactorNeuron said

    A guy has just found out that his pending R01 will be funded a few days after submitting another R01 (brand new). Given that he is still ESI eligible, is the 2nd R01 going to be accorded ESI privileges, just like the first one?

    • writedit said

      Lucky guy. ESI status at time of submission counts, and notice of award must be issued prior to submission. The first R01 notice will come well after submission obviously.

  84. IntraNIA said

    Hi again! I previously put in an A0 K99/R00 at NIA in June 2013. Scored a 31 during January 2014 IRG (due to the shutdown). Put in an A1 in February 2014. Scored a 16 (!) during June 2014 IRG. I am assuming Council meets in November and funds get disbursed at the earliest in January.

    Now here’s my problem. While I was waiting in March, I found my dream tenure-track job. I got said job. My start date is January 2015. I have been doing the K part of my work for some time now.

    Thus, a few things are unclear to me:

    1) I believe the new K stipulations went into effect for submissions after late 2013. I put in my A0 before that time. Is my K affected or not?

    2) If the PO isn’t willing to play ball on the R00 part, is it possible to negotiate an award of some kind that covers the same Specific Aims of the R00?

    I defer to your wisdom and counsel. Thank you, WritedIt.

    • writedit said

      Your A1 falls under the new policy, which requires 12 months of K99 support (not in a faculty position). If you can delay accepting the position for a few months, you could ask the PO whether your A0 could be awarded this summer, and then you accept your faculty position at the end of the K99 period (summer 2015 vs Jan 2015). Your new institution offering the position might be happy to wait if it means you come with an R00. If waiting is not an option and you do not get the K99/R00, then you can write an R21 or R01 based on your R00 project, but you cannot negotiate to have the R00 proposal you submitted funded under a different activity code. If you cannot delay and need to start the new position next Jan (which means giving up the K99/R00), and/or if the PO cannot get the A0 funded this summer, you will definitely want to submit an RPG application this Oct versus waiting until you move (you should be able to submit your application through them, if you have accepted the position by then).

      • IntraNIA said

        The PO and I had a conversation. She did not take well to the idea of the A0 being funded. The earliest the K99/R00 could get funded would be Nov 2014. Deferring my start date to Fall 2015 is not an option.

        Based on my conversation with my PO, my alternative plan is to form some collaborations and submit a K01 in the 1st or 2nd 2015 funding cycle. My thinking is that the K99/R00 was very well received, and the K01 would be reviewed by the same internal study section at NIA. It seems a more appropriate mechanism than trying for an R01 “right out of the gate.” I am more than ready for a faculty position, but having a transitional mentorship makes a lot of sense.

        While submitting in October 2014 is a fair thought, I have no idea if I could transform the grant while finishing my projects and starting on IRB applications. I do have enough startup for a few initial projects.

      • writedit said

        The K01 route is a good thought, especially if you need more preliminary data and publications to make the case for R01 funding. At NIA, you will only get $20K for research (main point of the award is to cover your salary), so you will need your start up to conduct research even with K01 support. I assume your PO meant submitting in Feb or June 2015 for an FY16 award. If you could submit something by October 2014 (for an FY15 award), that might be a good idea given the budget uncertainty after FY15 (the budget detail reached in 2013 only rolled back the sequester for FY14 & FY15). However, if you need to attend to other projects before you move, then it might be difficult to do the K01 application as well. I assume you know who your mentor will be at the new institution – which is someone else you might ask for advice.

      • IntraNIA said

        I had not realized the K01 just covered salary. I see why you suggest the R01.

        So you have given fantastic advice, and I very much appreciate it. If you don’t mind, I could use your input on a development related to the K99/R00 A1.

        I talked to my current PI, and he’s fine with me getting K training through my mentors, working with data, etc., but not physically being on site. “Some people apply for 5 years straight and don’t get an R01, this is a no-brainer,” as he put it. My future department chair said that my future institution can probably work something out with deferring the tenure-track position. Specifically, I could in early 2015 come to said institution as non-tenure track staff covering my own salary, officially be working 75% on K99 related stuff, and then in Nov. 2015 transition to tenure-track after applying to activate the R00.

        Have you ever heard of someone doing that? Do you think that might work? I obviously would want to get the PO’s input, but this route may be a viable solution for me to still use the K99/R00.

      • writedit said

        What you suggest is feasible – continuing as a postdoc at the new institution for a year before transitioning to the R00 in a tenure track position. Your PO will need to be on board with all of this, but if the research can be conducted at the new institution and you have a mentor there, plus your mentor at your current institution (I assume someone intramural at the NIA, per your handle) who launched the project, this should all be doable and acceptable to the NIA. There might well be a continuing resolution as of December 2014, which might delay your award, depending on how well it ranks at NIA. I assume the PO is optimistic about the K99/R01 A1 score of 16 (not a sure thing at every IC).

      • IntraNIA said

        Hello again. I figure my situation may be instructive as an atypical case study, so here’s another update.

        The NIA PO is “on board” with the proposal that I mentioned to you, along with the K99 PI, future department chair, and future Dean. The PO is going to advocate on my behalf with the NIA deputy director of extramural research, who handles most training grants. If the deputy director approves the plan, I am told that we can move forward. Council would review in October or November, and an award date at the earliest in roughly January 2015.

        The PO sounded optimistic about my situation, and the proposal fundability. The FY2014 payline for an NIA K99/R00 was 20. I get the impression that the payline will be similar for FY2015, barring sudden changes from Congress.

      • writedit said

        Thanks for the great update – glad this is working out for you. The next NIA Council meeting is Sept 16-17, though an award would probably still need to wait until NIA has their FY15 appropriation, which I expect won’t happen until next year. The good news is that for FY15, the appropriation will be at worst the same as FY14 and more likely a bit higher, so you should be good with that score – especially after all the discussion and arrangements made in your case.

      • Intramural NIA said

        Hi again! I have another meaningful update.

        I spoke with the NIA extramural Scientific Director. She also seems to be “on board” with the proposal (see below). She has requested that I draft a long letter explaining how I will conduct the Specific Aims and training aspects of the K at the new institution, bring on a seasoned co-PI at the new institution with a detailed involvement plan, and affirm with separate new letters that the current PI and core mentors are fine with the proposal. (She affirmed that my score of 16 on my NIA A1 K99/R00 for FY2015 is very likely to be funded, and that she foresees no bizarre exceptions like portfolio diversification).

        Importantly, the letter should be sent to the PO with the extramural director CCed in either October or November. I confirmed that this is intentionally after Council meets. I think this is a good sign?

        I am now waiting on final confirmation from the PO that the A1 K99/R00 application can move forward for consideration by Council. She’d sent me an e-mail asking how the conversation went and seemed pleased that my questions were answered. But I still want to be absolutely certain.

      • writedit said

        This is another wonderful and wonderfully informative update. Sending the required letters in Oct or Nov is fine – a good sign that you are being asked to do so – and on schedule for a December or early 2015 award, depending on the extent to which the continuing resolution delays awards at NIA.

      • IntraNIA said

        Update. I sent along a JIT request from the PO and Deputy Scientific Director for a memorandum on doing the data-analysis-driven K99 at my next institution, updated biosketches, updated support letters, and institutional commitment letter. The JIT did not include current support and IRB stuff (still pending approval until probably January).

        No word yet from PO other than thanking me for sending the packet along. My new position starts in early January with or without the K, so I am getting nervous.

        Based on your advice to others, I assume I should be patient and take a ‘wait and see’ approach.

      • writedit said

        Your award cannot start until IRB approval (if required for your research) is documented, so if that won’t happen until January, then neither will your award. The federal budget situation is the biggest determining factor in your award status at this point. The material you sent now is to obtain formal approval from NIA to allow your K99 to move to the new institution (after being peer reviewed for work done at a different institution). Once that is set, then it will be a matter of waiting for the budget to shake out, but this all looks very promising still. You will likely start your new position without the K99, but that does not put the K99 at risk – though I realize you want to move to the tenure track position in a year so don’t want the K99 delayed too long. I assume your PO is aware of all this and will do whatever she can to expedite your award.

      • IntraNIA said

        NIA published their interim FY2015 paylines. It is brutal. K awards are being funded up to 14. I got a 16. The PO has confirmed today that my grant is not being singled out for funding above the payline. I’m going to talk with her on Friday about the pros/cons of waiting until later, to see if the payline gets bumped up, versus just going with my TT position in January. My university is willing to float me a few months if needed, but beyond that it’s unlikely.

        Thoughts?

      • writedit said

        Wow – I cannot believe your PO, who was both on board with your plan at the new institution and hopeful about your chances (“foresees no bizarre exceptions”), now says you won’t be tapped for funding above the payline. I assume she means right now vs at all, since the payline should go back to FY14 levels once the FY15 budget is passed. Your application could be picked up later in the year after the FY15 appropriation is in hand. If Congress passes an omnibus budget for the rest of FY15, then your PO may know better when the payline will be adjusted upward. If Congress passes another CR, then the payline won’t change for many months. The ICs are nervous about what might happen in this political climate, but I am still hopeful that the NIH will be about the same in FY15 as it was in FY14. Now, FY16 will be worse due to the resumption of the sequester – unless Congress agrees on something to avoid resumption of the across-the-board cuts in discretionary spending. The ICs could be looking ahead to a few uncertain years and being more conservative in their awards going forward, too, but Ks are low budget, time-limited line items, not big long-term commitments.

        So, you should ask your PO how soon after the FY15 budget passes might the NIA adjust its paylines … and whether you should be working on a K01 or R01 if you go straight to a TT position at the new institution.

      • IntraNIA said

        So back on Dec 5th, I called the PO. She suggested I sit tight for a few months. I moved, got situated, and still have the blessing of the department chair and university to remain a post-doc instead of TT. They are mildly frustrated, but thankfully not at me (I think).

        Anyway, I got a reply from my PO today indicating that my application has been put on a list for consideration for pay. No final decisions made at this time. Meeting with institute director later next month to finalize funding decisions.

        Sounds sort of promising?

      • writedit said

        Yes – knowing your situation, your PO would not have you put your appointment and career on hold if she did not think an award was likely (especially not suggesting to work on another application as insurance during your discussions last year). Still no guarantee (see RT3), but they must appreciate what you and your new institution are doing to accommodate the award terms.

      • IntraNIA said

        Update: no word yet from PO. I sent a few emails over the last few months. The NIA recently increased the K99/R00 payline from 14 to 20 for select topic areas. My K falls under one of those topic areas, so I imagine it should eventually go through.

        That said, I have considered calling my PO. A final decision was supposed to come down in Late February or March.

      • writedit said

        I think the change in payline for your area of research confirms why your PO said to sit tight. Although it would be better if she replied, I expect she doesn’t have any useful information as to timing so was waiting until she did to reply. Your prior note in early December gives a time frame of “a few months”, so I wouldn’t be worried about the delay. If you need to know for timing purposes (especially if you need access to the funds as part of the 90-day in advance of award spending) and/or because your department is anxious for you to get the K99 started so you can come on board as faculty in a defined time frame, you can certainly call for an update – maybe give her another week or send another email indicating your institution’s interest in getting an idea of timing, if that is the case.

      • IntraNIA said

        The saga continues, but nearly comes to a close!

        An email to the NIA PO prompted conversation. She had me interface with a grants specialist for the award. The on-going problem for a month now has been award transfer through a SF424 transfer application mechanism. Apparently, an award needs to be made at NIH and then be transferred, rather than the existing method which has been indicating a transfer is taking place and then making an award. Award transfer of a K99/R00 is apparently rare, so there has been a delay.

        But these are administrative foibles. The grant is slated for pay by the PO. When that finally happens, I will give the traditional timeline for interested researchers.

      • writedit said

        Great – thanks for posting this update, which is also instructive, since I expect you won’t be the only one in the position of needing to take both the K99 plus R00 to the new institution until you can accept a faculty appointment (now that full year of K99 is required and many postdocs applying for jobs while waiting to hear about K99 status). Glad to hear good news is waiting at the end of this bureaucratic hassle.

      • TGS said

        Hi IntraNIA –
        I’d be curious how things end up going with your transfer. I submitted a K99 transfer application in December in order to transfer the grant in March. Came to the new institute in March, and the transfer hasn’t happened yet. Submitted my R00 application last week, even thought I’m still waiting for the K99 here..

      • IntraNIA said

        @TGS: I will let you know via comments. Happy to elaborate also if needed.

        Originally, I was given a late April deadline for pay on May 1st or at most May 15th. So my impression is that this sort of thing is supposed to be quick. That said, I have had to hound the grants specialist. Your delay sounds onerous. I hope it passes soon!

        I would also be curious about your transition to the R00. At best, a year from now, I will have some preliminary data, but likely nothing close to publishable or clear from the larger study containing the K99. It’s unclear to me just how much I need to get done so that I am not one of those rare R00’s that gets denied.

    • TGS said

      Yeah I definitely didn’t think it would take this long – the GMS didn’t respond to any of my e-mails, but responded to an institutional rep about 3 weeks ago saying it will be done shortly.
      For my R00 application I just have one paper that is currently in review, so no publications. My PO has e-mailed to ask a follow up question about my job search process, but so far that is the only thing that has come up. My understanding is that as long as you have made some progress on the K99 aims, you should be fine.

  85. pending council review said

    I have an NHLBI RO1 in consideration for funding (well below the ESI payline and it qualifies for ESI). Council meeting is today. When will I know for sure, what will the commons status update to, and could I call my PO or would it drive her crazy, and would it be useful to call the grants administrator? Or email either of them?

    • writedit said

      If you have submitted your JIT, there is nothing you can do but sit back and wait for the processing to run its course. Your award will not be until July, hopefully earlier rather than later in the month. Your eRA Commons status will change from Council review completed to reflect administrative review, pending award, award being processed, and awarded (some permutation of this). If you truly need to know so you can start spending in advance of the award (allowable up to 90 days in advance), then you can request your PO or GMS for confirmation for your institution that the award will be issued within 90 days (which it will be).

  86. JNJ said

    Hi writedit,
    You give a wonderful advice and maintain a helpful blog. I got 12% on my RO1 (NHLBI) grant. I think the council meeting is in October. Is there any chance for me to get this grant with new FY budget? or what I should do? Please advice.

  87. K01(BD2K) said

    Hi! This may be a far reach, but I was wondering if anyone knows how they will make funding decisions for the K01s submitted under BD2K?(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-HG-14-007.html) My K01 received an impact score of 20. Thanks!

    • writedit said

      I would assume the BD2K applications will be ranked by score, with some discussion among the top-scoring to select the 6-7 they intend to fund. You have a good score, but depending on the response to the RFA, there could be a number of applications with scores at or below 20 (there were over 130 applications in response to the main U54 BD2K Center RFA). You should ask your assigned PO whether ICs will have the opportunity to weigh in on the selection of the 6-7 applications to be funded through BD2K and whether individual ICs can fund (outside the BD2K pool) applications assigned to them. You can also ask your PO whether you should submit your K01 (new application) this October through the parent announcement.

  88. K01(BD2K) said

    Thank you so much for the background details and advice on what specifics to ask my PO! Yikes, that is a lot of applications for the BD2K Center RFA!

  89. question said

    Hi–I have an RO1 pending, post-council, and is below the payline so all looks good. However my PO is being very conservative, of course, and emphasizing that nothing is definite until the NoA is issued. I followed up by email today and she said that she doesn’t know when the ‘pay plan’ will be signed (presumably by the director?)? This is NHLBI. Does anyone know exactly what she is referring to and/or whether this is giving more solid confirmation that my grant will be funded?

    • writedit said

      Yes, the Director signs off on the pay list or pay plan, and I would certainly expect that to happen soon, given that Council met earlier this month. Your PO is being careful, giving the standard “nothing definite until the NoA is issued” – but she seems to be indicating you are on the pay list so are just in a holding pattern. If you need to start spending money sooner (or start advertising positions in the lab, if that’s the case), you should be able to do so under the 90 days in advance of the award policy, since the award must be issued before Sept 30th and will likely be issued before the end of July or maybe August (given the July 4th holiday coming up).

  90. Sitting in limbo said

    I submitted an R21 proposal in the Fall of 2013. It was scored in the 14th percentile in March 2014 (NCI). Preparing the revision for July 2014, I discovered that the Program Announcement has expired. Is it possible to submit the revision under a different PA than the original submission?

    • writedit said

      Yes, you can submit the A1 to the parent announcement or another appropriate PA. You might ask your PO for suggestions (and alert him/her to the change in FOA).

  91. Vidya C said

    Hi Writedit, is it normal for a K23 administrative review with NICHD to take more than a month? My eRa Commons status on this application was updated 6/18 as “pending”. I heard from my PO on July 4th that the grant is approved but pending administrative review. Would you suggest I contact the PO or my grants specialist again to find out if there is any glitch? Thanks,.

    • writedit said

      No, this is not unusual, so please don’t worry, and there is no need to contact the GMS or anyone else again. No glitches – just bureaucracy.

      • Vidya C said

        Okay. Thanks for your prompt reply and advice.

  92. MKIM said

    Any updates on the BRAIN Initiative proposal scores / results – when the scores will be released ?

  93. Jeff said

    Dear writedit, I was wondering if there are any general guidelines on how much % effort a new investigator on a K should ask for as they transition off their K and hopefully onto an RO1. The application will be going in and if funded the first time (low likelihood) there would be some time on year 3 (PO said that effort from the K can be listed as concurrent) then on year 4 effort for K can be reduced to 50% (I am about 15-20% clinical now also). Obviously when I am off the K as much effort as possible on this RO1 will help to keep my chief from firing me since realistically 2 RO1’s by the end of a K is not a small task these days. Would I just ask for say ~50% effort throughout and when still on the K have this be concurrent until the K is over?

    • writedit said

      For the last 2 years of your K, you can drop your %effort on the K to 50%, during which time you would put 25-30% effort on the R01 (saving 20-25% effort for clinical, teaching, administrative time). When the K ends, your level of effort on the R01 would go up to 50%, and you would plan the budget accordingly (so less effort first 2 years, assuming overlap with K). The effort can be negotiated depending on the timing of the award. Your level of effort on the R01 needs to make sense in conjunction with the rest of the budget – so if you are also asking for a postdoc and/or grad student, you need to be able to justify everyone’s role at their assigned effort (in addition to your 50% effort).

  94. what is going on? said

    I am a little confused and a little concerned. I have a pending RO1 with the NHLBI with a fundable score. The project did not make it onto the ‘pay plan’ signed by the director due to some confusion over my ESI status (which is required for the proposal to be funded). My PO (without me having to ask or anything–so i really appreciated this) saw that my project was not listed and then got my ESI status confirmed. Now it has to be signed off on by the director, and my PO does not have any update on the status. The Grants Management Specialist has been totally unresponsive to any calls and emails, and also my PO said that she wasn’t able to talk to the GMS, either. So, did i miss my one-and-only chance? My PO did not indicate this, just that she does not know when it might be signed off on. We also discussed the 90-day spending prior to funding, and she indicated that because the funding would be issued by teh end of the fiscal year (Sept.) then i was within the allowable window, as long as my University was okay with this in case it does not get funded. We have had extended conversations about my JIT information, so I doubt she would have spent that much time if it is not likely to get funded. These discussions occurred after the initial payplay/ESI problem, so I just don’t know what to think. My PO says she does not know anything else at this point, and I believe her. Is this typical for NHLBI or has this happened to anyone else?

    What can i do, who can i ask? What is going to happen?

    • writedit said

      Don’t worry – you will receive an award by Sept 30th. The GMS has nothing to do with whether your application will receive an award, just when. You don’t need to keep pushing for answers at NHLBI – please just try to be patient as the bureaucratic process of preparing an award creeps along. They will contact you if any additional information is needed. If in the meantime you need to advertise a position for your project (postdoc, technician) or make purchases in advance of the award being issued, you can ask your sponsored programs office and/or department fiscal administrator to set up an account for you. They may want to see the email from your PO that indicates you will receive an award within 90 days (and your PO would be happy to send this to them, if you only discussed this by phone vs email).

      • what is going on? said

        Thanks for the reassurance; she told me that it would be funded by Sept. 30 IF it gets funded (she is always saying things very indefinitely). Is this just how she has to say it? Conversely, if she thought there were a problem, would she say something like “You shouldn’t spend money”?

      • writedit said

        No PO can promise an award will be issued until the Notice of Award has been prepared. Your PO does not expect anything to go wrong, which is why she told you to start planning how to spend the money (90-day advance spending), but she cannot guarantee something completely unexpected and out of her control will not happen (even if the risk is infinitesimally small). So, she must always say “if” rather than “when”. It’s the first lesson they teach POs, I think.

  95. Sailaja said

    Hi,
    I have my ESI status till the end of September. If I submit my R01 grant before September 30th for October cycle, Can I still keep my ESI status?
    Thanks in advance,
    Sailaja

    • writedit said

      Yes – your status on the date the application is successfully submitted to grants.gov is the date on which ESI status is checked and flagged on the application. If you submit prior to Sept 30th and do not see that your application has been flagged as ESI in eRA Commons, you’ll want to contact the ESI help desk (ESINIH@od.nih.gov). Now, if you submit Sept 30 and the application has errors to be fixed, I believe the subsequent submission (successful submission) would be used to establish ESI status, so I’d suggest submitting a day early to be safe.

  96. Sailaja said

    Thank you so much for the suggestion and information.

  97. Jason said

    Quick follow up question to the ESI thread. If one currently holds a k08, what, if any R series grants can be submitted without losing that status for the eventual R01 application from the K project? Could an R21 go in without losing ESI status?

  98. ThousandWords said

    Hi, Writedit,
    I received a letter from PO about a pending NIBIB SBIR with impact score of 19. Although this score is below the payline, the PO decided not to fund it due to “program focus: our preference at this point is to extend our funding allocation to other areas of research to provide better portfolio balance”. What would be your suggested steps I should take at this point? This application is also assigned to NIGMS and NIH Office of director.
    Many thanks!

    • writedit said

      Wow – this is tough. It doesn’t happen often, and this is why I recommend PIs talk with POs before submitting – just to be sure their application doesn’t duplicate what is already being funded and fills a need. If you have been working with the NIGMS PO (and/or someone in the OD), by all means contact him/her. You can ask your NIBIB PO about contacting NIGMS and/or the OD with regard to taking the application, since he/she (NIBIB PO that is) would need to be involved anyway. Most POs who cannot fund a worthy application are willing to help get it to ICs with a secondary assignment (some people on the blog have posted happy experiences in this regard). Good luck with this … and if neither NIGMS nor the OD can or want to take this application, be sure to talk with POs there to find out if anyone would be interested in your work before reapplying.

  99. Vidya C said

    Hi Writedit, Just wanted to let you know that I received the NOA on 8/14 for my K23! Happy about that but they have cut salary and scientific monies per NICHD policy though the PA had different guidelines. Wondering if it is worth asking about it. Thanks for your blog – it is very helpful!

    • writedit said

      Hooray! I am glad the award came through after all the delays. If you look at the IC-specific limitations and requirements for the K23 (http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/contacts/parent_K23.html), you will see how NICHD differs from the parent announcement and other ICs. The NICHD $ levels listed in this table are what govern your award, not what other ICs do, so you cannot request more money (and you were not “cut” – your submitted budget was adjusted to match NICHD policy).

      • Vidya C said

        True, but the same PA was awarded by NICHD for a much higher amount which would not have been possible based on their policy. Thanks for your advice and enthusuiasm

      • writedit said

        Do you mean you know someone who received a K23 from NICHD who received a salary higher than their stated limit? If so, there could be a couple explanations. The K parent awards were recently reissued, and the ICs may have decided to adjust their stipend & research support levels. Actually, I have noticed a few changes when I look closely at a specific IC for an application I’m working on. Also, a K recipient can have a higher salary than is listed in the IC policy, but it is the institution (university) picking up the extra cost, not the IC making a higher award (at least, I am not aware of ICs paying above their stated salary stipend levels). You can certainly ask your PO, but if your award reflects their stated $ limits for salary & research funds, then I doubt you can expect to receive more (especially in this financial climate).

        >

  100. Emaderton3 said

    Hi once again,

    I recently resubmitted a R01 (A1 as an ESI using the extended date for the next immediate review cycle). In the A0 summary statement, two of my three reviewers gave me criteria scores in the 1-3 range (one 4 from each). The third reviewer’s scores were much different and lower. Overall, I am guessing they led to the overall priority score being talked down to a mediocre score. The discussion with my P.O. was very positive; she really liked my proposal and felt I was in a good position to resubmit so quickly. Looking at eRA Commons yesterday, I noticed that a different P.O. has been assigned to my submission (and the proposal did go to the same study section). Is this common? I am a bit dismayed that the previous P.O. will not be involved since she appeared supportive of my proposal.

    • writedit said

      Sometimes applications are first assigned to a PO in the extramural office before being assigned to someone in the appropriate scientific program, but this seems unlikely for an A1 (you can tell by seeing where in the IC this new PO is located). If your application was reassigned, I expect your original PO knows, but you should ask her about the change. It could be that her portfolio is being split up a bit, but she might still be able to request your application; if not, she can put in a good word with your new PO and perhaps do an email introduction.

      • Emaderton3 said

        The new person that was assigned is not a PhD but listed as a Referral Officer at the assigned (and correct) Institute. So does that mean this will change to another P.O. then?

      • writedit said

        That is probably what it means (i.e., interim assignment to general referral officer), though it seems as though it would have been easy enough just to reassign your initial PO. You should certainly check with her to see what is going on and to be sure she is aware of where your application is (she may not know). Your query will not be out of place, so you don’t need to worry about its propriety.

      • Emaderton3 said

        I did try recently to ask about this very issue but without a response. Overall, I have not had success contacting this PO (no responses to emails except once when I wanted to talk about my summary statement). I will give it a bit of time since the review is not for a while. Thanks!

      • Emaderton3 said

        So the original PO was assigned again.

        Another question related to this R01 resubmission. I looked at the roster of the study section, and it appears that only about 1/3 of the people that were on it before when my first submission was reviewed are on this study section again to review my resubmission. Does this tend to work in my favor or against me? Or is there no trend?

      • writedit said

        If one of your primary reviewers (vs the third reviewer/reader) is still on the panel, you should be in good shape (SRO likely to reassign). If you feel like the new third of reviewers have expertise that takes the study section in a slightly different direction/emphasis, then the discussion could bring up new points of concern … but there’s nothing you can do about that now. Of course, if any of the new reviewers are likely to be interested in your science, then this certainly works in your favor. Hopefully you will have a fundable score as your outcome, but if not, you should look over the new panel carefully and perhaps talk with the SRO (and your PO, if she’ll answer) about whether you should consider migrating to a different SRG if the application needs to go in again – assuming there is another study section with overlapping interests.

      • Emaderton3 said

        Thanks as always for your input!

      • Emaderton3 said

        Got my score and summary statement for the A1. The summary statement says that some of the strengths of my resubmission were the innovative hypothesis and resolving prior reviewers critiques. Yet, my score did not improve very much and is not in the fundable range (or probably not even select pay unless I am extremely lucky). From the way the summary statement is written, it appears that I may have had 3 new reviewers. I looked at the roster, and of the 40 members, only 13 were on the study section for the review of the A0!!! Some of the primary concerns of the A1 were things that I had to change in response to the A0 critique. One reviewer had large issues with innovation but overlooked many novel biological things. I am thinking that I may have picked the wrong study section since I sent the same grant to a private foundation that was reviewed by a group with completely different expertise and did very well.

      • writedit said

        Sorry to hear this. You should certainly talk with your PO. If she remains enthusiastic about the work, then she may recognize the review difficulties and push for select pay or perhaps an R56 (one year of bridge funding to collect data for resubmission). If you need to resubmit, then you can also ask your PO for advice on switching study sections (she likely attends any SRGs to which you might send your application and might know which culture best fits with your science) and on preparing the new proposal.

      • Emaderton3 said

        Another overdue update. I had an excellent conversation with my P.O. who also came to the conclusion that perhaps the study section that reviewed my proposal was not the greatest fit. My P.O. also said that I had a very interesting grant that she really liked and would consider supporting it for selected pay. She said that she would probably have more questions closer to council meeting time that she may need answered to support her position for possibly funding it. That was about three months ago. Since many of my mentors have said that the POs usually ask for a rebuttal letter, I have tried contacting her via email several times to ask if she had any further questions. I have not heard back, and council meeting is this week. So, I guess I wait . . .

      • writedit said

        I am really happy that when your PO responds, she does so fully – and that she is a sufficient advocate to push for select pay. Many POs want a rebuttal, but discussions about select pay (at which a rebuttal might be important) often don’t take place until after Council – depends on the IC. Your PO might have taken notes during your conversation and felt up to answering any questions that might be raised internally, too (i.e., realized she did not have more questions). Hopefully you’ll hear from her, hopefully with good news, within a couple weeks of the Council meeting.

      • Emaderton3 said

        I just checked eRA Commons and saw something I had never seen before. There are now two council dates and times listed which weren’t there just a few days ago. One was yesterday which I was aware of, but another was back in December. What is the significance of 2 dates if any?

      • writedit said

        Just means someone is updating your account, now that they’re paying attention as your award is processed. NCI and NHLBI have 4 Council meetings per year, and actually NCI has had 5 in recent years, sometimes combining the NCAB & Board of Scientific Advisors (oversee intramural program) but no review of extramural grant applications.

      • Emaderton3 said

        What do you mean by processed?

      • writedit said

        Sorry – my bad. I answered from email without looking on the blog to see which application this was in reference to (I had thought the one you had JIT for). Someone did update your account, but in relation to the NCAB meeting being completed versus as part of processing your JIT. You still might hear about this application in the next few weeks, too, though. Fingers crossed.

      • Emaderton3 said

        I completely overlooked that I would need an approved animal protocol for JIT. It would be helpful if I knew I was getting one!

      • writedit said

        Note to all: if you get a score that could be fundable (especially if your PO is encouraging), take steps to obtain necessary approvals (IACUC, IRB, etc.) then rather than wait for Council. This is especially true for the final round of reviews and for any applications being held for possible select pay at the end of the FY – you cannot wait to get these approvals or you may be passed over for an award (ICs must wrap everything up by Sept).

      • Emaderton3 said

        How often are select pay grants awarded before the end of the FY but during the cycle in which they were reviewed if an earlier one?

      • writedit said

        I don’t know, but I expect most wait until the end of the FY, since program would want to give all beyond payline applications equal consideration for the limited pool available to fund them. Applications with very high priority science that they know they will fund no matter what would be funded earlier in the FY. Some ICs, like NIGMS, consider and discuss a wider range of percentiles each funding cycle, so the scoring outliers from this broader pool that might still get picked up would wait til the end of the FY, having had their chance during their Council cycle. This would be the case for NCI and NIMH discussion of applications from the 10th to 20th percentile (if not funded that cycle, not considered again until the end of the FY).

  101. SJ said

    Does anyone know about EOY funding for DP2 grants? My DP2 was transferred from OD to an IC (a good sign!), and I was sent an email saying it was being considered for EOY funding. That was early Aug, and no word since then. The RFA says NoAs would go out in August, but only 2 biz days left in August. Is it possible they are pushing this to Sept?

    • writedit said

      Awards can be made up until Sept 30th, so don’t worry about the date – until you start bumping up against the 30th. If you haven’t heard anything by Sept 15, you could contact the PO at the IC to see if you are still under consideration (depends on how far the $ goes).

  102. sand said

    Hi, may I know your score of DP2? Thanks. I’m also waiting for the notice.

  103. Mike Graham said

    Hello,

    My R01 was reviewed June 9, 2014 and scored 5%, NIH/NCI. When should I expect to hear about a NOA?

    Thank you,

    • writedit said

      Congratulations on the exceptional score. Because we probably won’t have a federal budget in place until next year, you probably won’t receive a NoA in December. Your score might be low enough to be funded during the continuing resolution, but if NCI is especially conservative, your award would be delayed until the FY15 appropriation is final, hopefully by early 2015.

      • Mike Graham said

        Many thanks for your prompt reply writedit!

  104. tcgal said

    i am in the process of starting a competing renewal application to NCI. This was the only policy i could find related to budget and competing renewal caps for NCI.

    https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-CA-08-026.html – but its old (2008) — is there anything newer?

    anyone here familiar with the competing renewal mechanism for NCI? any insights are appreciated.

    • writedit said

      You are still limited to a 10% increase over your last annual direct cost amount, if that is your question. You can ask your PO if you are eligible for a waiver, but this is extremely rare (I do not know of any). If you need more than a 10% increase in budget to pursue your new aims, you will likely need to submit a new Type 1 application rather than a Type 2 (competing renewal).

      • LIZR said

        Just for further clarification – the 10% increase rule at NCI applies to the amount of direct costs that was awarded rather than your original requested R01 budget? These days at some Institutes it is not unusual to have R01 budgets cut by 10-20% from the initial budget request. If your initial R01 is cut by 20%, and you can only request 10% more than you were actually awarded then you would have to request less money in your renewal than in your original R01 application! Given inflation, this does not seem viable over the long term. Perhaps this is one more reason why it may be better to submit a new R01 rather than submit a renewal in certain cases?

      • writedit said

        The 10% is based on the final year NoA, not what you requested in your application. And yes, for most investigators, submitting a new R01 (or P01 or other renewable mechanism) is the best (only) strategy if they are increasing the scope of the research.

      • LIZR said

        But the problem with that policy is that if NCI cuts the awarded budget for consecutive renewals by 10% or more, then it is impossible to keep up with inflation, even if you keep the scope of the work the same. This year it looks like NCI is cutting most budgets on new R01s by 17%. Therefore if you request directs of $300K -> the final NOA you can expect to get $249K (assuming no additional cuts). For your renewal you could only request $274K. Assuming modest inflation, $274K would keep you about steady in terms of buying power, but if NCI makes any cut to the renewal you will not be keeping up with inflation.

      • writedit said

        Absolutely correct, and NCI recognizes this (as do other ICs with similar renewal budget caps).

  105. arj77 said

    I have a question as a new/early stage investigator desperately searching for funding in this tough environment. My mentor comes from the old school of thought, and is adamant that an R03 is the appropriate mechanism for someone like myself. Once I get the R03, I can try for an R01. Following his advice, I have applied for two R03s, but neither have been funded (Both received scores, one of which would have been fundable a couple years ago). However, many of my colleagues, who are younger, believe that I should go directly for the R01 – especially considering how small funds for an R03 are. Do you have any advice on this? Also, as an ESI/NI, how much preliminary data is necessary for an R01 application? I am frustrated with the R03s – especially since the payline (for my institution, NIAMS) remains low for R03 but has increased for R01. I really appreciate your perspective on this. I apologize if this is not the correct forum. Thanks!

    • writedit said

      This is absolutely the right forum for this sort of question. Actually, the NIH would rather NI/ESI applicants go for the R01, which is the only mechanism that allows for payline breaks – plus it can be renewed, which, if you’ve been productive, generally has a higher success rate than new applications (this assumes the budget limitations imposed by some ICs on competing renewals won’t be a problem for you). You do need preliminary data to apply for an R01, though, again, the study section will review new/ESI applications separate from applications by established investigators, so you won’t be held to the same preliminary data standard (in theory, if not in practice). If you were proposing a mini-R01 as your R03, that doesn’t work. R03s are meant for developing or characterizing an experimental model through which you collect preliminary data for an R01 or any other necessary work in preparation for an R01 or in response to a very focused question (perhaps posed by a funding announcement). NIAMS saves their R03 budget for career development awardees who need more $ in their final K years to obtain preliminary data for an R01 application. If you do not have an NIAMS K award, you should probably communicate with the R03 PAR PO as to whether you would be the sort of applicant NIAMS would fund even if your score were competitive. My guess is that he/she will advise you to go for the R01, which would be my advise as well – and to identify the best NIAMS PO for your science now to get advice as you develop the application.

  106. jms said

    The council review for my R21 application was completed on 09/17/2014 (impact 30, IC NIDCR). When should I expect to learn about the funding decision ?

    • writedit said

      Because this would be at best a gray zone score (though maybe not at NIDCR), you won’t know about funding likelihood until some time next year, after the federal budget for FY15 has been signed into law. With the mid-term elections, the best-case scenario would be in December (the continuing resolution funds the government through Dec 15), but possibly not until early next year, after the new Congress starts. Once you see (in the news) that a federal budget has been enacted, wait a few weeks, and then check in with your PO for an update. The FY15 payline should be about the same as FY14, so in the meantime, you could ask what the FY14 R21 payline was – and for advice (based on the review panel discussion, assuming the PO attended the meeting) on submitting a revised application, which you should certainly do (for November, if you get the summary statement back in time).

  107. jms said

    Forgot to mention in my previous post: thank you so much for maintaining such an informative blog. I follow it very regularly (though I have posted a question for the first time !). Thank you !

  108. starfish123 said

    Hi,

    I’m curious if anyone has any insight into my situation. I initially submitted an F32 to the NICHD in 2012, it was unscored.

    A1 went in April 2014. Impact score 26, 13th percentile. Summary statement indicated “high training potential” and “strong enthusiasm.” PO indicated it was a good score but I needed to wait for council meeting in September for a final decision.

    After council meeting last week, a followup email indicates that the grant will not be funded but I was encouraged to reapply. Historic pay lines for the last 3 years show pay lines in low 20s-high teens.

    No explanation for why it wasn’t funded. Did the pay line drop that much this year? Am I missing something? Nothing has been updated on the commons status page.

    • writedit said

      Fellowship applications don’t go to Council formally, but it could be they needed Council’s input on a broader scale prior to making final FY14 awards (FY14 ends next Tues), and they didn’t make it down the paylist to yours. This is good news that you were encouraged to apply again, though You should ask your PO how you can strengthen your new application to shave off a few more points.

      • starfish123 said

        what exactly does it mean to not make it down the pay list to mine? is that list ordered by percentile score? alphabetically? submission date?

        in other words, would improving the score (if possible, summary statement didn’t offer too many suggestions that would substantially improve grant) even matter or is this just bad luck on my part because my name is in the second half of the alphabet?

      • writedit said

        No, the ICs rank applications by priority (based on score, programmatic interests, internal discussion) to create paylists (better described by Jeremy Berg when he was Director of NIGMS: http://loop.nigms.nih.gov/2011/01/the-funding-decision-process/). For a fellowship application in particular, getting advice and input from the PO on how to improve the proposal is important, since the funding decisions are guided by impact scores but with internal discussion as well. Hopefully your PO attended the study section meeting and can provide suggestions based on how the discussion of your application went and the culture of the panel overall.

  109. Meiopic said

    I am preparing a DP2 application for the October 17th deadline and checked this years recipients today. Did NIH really only award 15 of these grants? Usually they select 30 – 40. Or will some be picked up after the budget is finalized.

    Thanks for this very useful resource!

    • writedit said

      I don’t see a news release yet for FY14. If you are checking RePORTER, there is some lag time in adding awards, so you might check in the next week for an announcement about the 2014 awardees. Announcements for a few big programs are late, such as the BD2K Centers.

      • Meiopic said

        Yep – they gave 50 the rest were posted today. Thanks!

  110. Jeff said

    Does anyone have experience with the NIH late policy? My grants and contracts department was overstretched and submitted my R01 application last minute today (4:40). I just got an error message in that my eCommons ID was incorrectly entered and thus my application was considered incomplete. I am a new investigator on a K so the timing of this grant going off is ultra critical for me. Anyone have any advice on what my options are and thoughts about how to avoid waiting until next cycle?

    • writedit said

      This is why the NIH recommends submitting at least 2 days before the deadline. The policy and rules exist to maintain a level playing field, so exceptions are not made for routine errors. You could ask your PO, but essentially, this is just a tough lesson to learn.

  111. sean said

    Does anyone know the funding range for NIDDK K01/K08/K23 R03 grants? The success rate is high, but there is no data on percentile. Only priority scores are provided.
    thanks!

    • writedit said

      Your PO should be able to tell you how competitive your score is. There is a limited pool of applicants, so higher scores are likely funded, and I suspect there is some program flexibility.

      >

  112. Hannah said

    Dear Writedit,
    My R01 was “not discussed” at NCI study section so I have no priority score, and don’t have summary statement yet. I just noticed that the JIT link in commons is active.
    I am an ESI and NI for this submission.
    Do you have any idea what this might suggest? It seems odd!
    Thank you!

    • writedit said

      This suggests nothing about your application (you still need to rework the proposal and resubmit, probably as an A0 rather than as an A1, given the lack of score and discussion). The JIT link in eRA Commons is always open for any active application and should be ignored. eRA Commons generates automated JIT requests (email) for applications with a priority score of 40 or less, but these should be ignored, too. Only a direct request from the IC (PO or GMS) indicates the possibility of an award, and these requests come around the Council meeting or after, closer to when an award might be made (not just after study section meets).

  113. thoughtful said

    I’m an ESI and NI seeking some feedback about which mechanism to submit to. I was the recipient of a NIDA F31 and I have no other NIH submissions to date. I am now in a tenure track position. I was planning to submit a new grant application through the R03 mechanism (NIDA or NIAAA) but I am hearing a good deal by word of mouth about ESI and NI going straight for an R01 in order to protect enough time to dedicate to a new research agenda. The grant idea I am working on can be scaled accordingly. I am not currently planning on submitting a K award so this does not need to be factored into the timing.

    Are ESI/NI required to have preliminary data in R01 submissions? Have others been hearing this? For the experienced grant writers, what would you consider before making this decision?

    Thank you!

    • writedit said

      You should only apply for the R03 if you need to refine an experimental model or collect very specific data in support of an R01-level project. $50K/y for 2 years cannot be used as a mini-R01, it can’t be renewed, and you get no payline break (only with R01). The R03 is not a “starter” award and does not make you more likely to subsequently obtain R01 funding (see last paragraph in Background at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-09-013.html). You do need preliminary data for an R01 though. I would suggest that you talk with POs at both institutes about your ideas and whether you would be better off going for some small project funds (R03) to get preliminary data or prepping for an R01 submission. Also ask about study sections, if you haven’t started to think about that yet.

  114. pom4pom said

    Hi,

    I have a different question.

    I am a current PI on an R21 grant from NIDA, it is a infra-structure building between US and MIC. We have good preliminary data. We plan to submit an R01 due this January, however the mechanism that we plan to submit to requires a collaboration between US and MIC again, sadly I moved to Canada, so I can not be the PI for this R01. My co-investigator agrees to be the PI but he will be submitting another R01 in collaboration with another foreign institute with different research focus (different country) on the same funding mechanism.

    I am wondering how NIH view one PI with 2 grants on the same mechanism and might be in the same review committee.

    thanks for your comments.

    • writedit said

      The reviewers would be instructed not to mention or consider the other application when discussing the first (and vice versa). Each would (should) be discussed on its own merits. Your co-investigator should talk with the PO to see if NIDA would fund him on both awards – the projects would need to be sufficiently different (and I assume they would be), so he’s not getting paid twice for the same work.

    • pom4pom said

      thanks for your comments, this will targeting MIMH and NICHD for one grant and NIDA in another.

      • writedit said

        Aha. The POs would all still want to be sure there wasn’t overlap in his end of the projects, in case both were considered for an award (would come up at JIT time). With the different ICs involved, I assume not though.

  115. brendamcc said

    Hi all, we received a score that put us in the 16th percentile with NIGMS. Does anyone know how likely it is that the proposal will be funded?

    • writedit said

      You should have a reasonably good chance at funding, but when you get your summary statement, you will definitely want to be in touch with your PO, who will play an important role in promoting your application at paylist meetings at which applications are ranked for funding. Your PO may be interested in any responses you have to the major criticisms (in the Resume & Summary of Discussion), and if you have any new publications, this would be good news to pass along as well.

  116. Frank said

    Hi all,

    My R21 A1 received a score that is in the 13th percentile with NIMH. Does anyone know how likely the proposal will be funded?

    • writedit said

      Likely, but you can check in with your PO for advice on next steps (resubmit, write a brief response to the critique, sit tight) when you have your summary statement.

  117. greenPI said

    Hello Writedit,
    I have a 2 part question regarding R01’s. I’m a ESI/NI and received a score just outside the NIDDK payline. However, the PO is going to recommend a R56. Is there any information out there on how to prepare an R56 for the PO. I realize the PI doesn’t submit the R56 but the PO still requested a 2 page response by me. Also, a JIT request by email arrived today (summary statement arrived 2 weeks ago) for the R01. Is that indicative of anything?
    Thanks again for the great resource!

    • writedit said

      The JIT email is automatically generated for any application with a priority score of 40 or below and does not mean anything. Only a JIT request from a PO and/or GMS reflects actual interest in your application.

      You do not need to do anything for the R56 – there is no application at all. It sounds like your PO is asking you for a response to the concerns raised in the Resume and Summary of Discussion from your summary statement. However, the R56 is a 1-year mechanism, so he could also be asking you to describe which of your aims you would pursue to get data to strengthen your R01 application. You should ask your PO for clarification as to whether he wants you to respond to the prior review or describe what you would aim to accomplish with one year of bridge funding (it is not renewable, so definitely just one year) – probably essentially what you had planned to do the first year of your R01, though perhaps tweaked to ensure you had everything you needed for a competitive R01. The funding level is roughly the same as a year of your R01 (i.e., not an R03-sized substitute). The PO might want both – a short response to the review and a revised one-year research plan (based on the R01 you submitted).

  118. parc said

    The first submission of my R21 (NICHD) received a 16th percentile. Upon receiving the summary statement, I emailed the PO to set up a meeting to discuss the statement and the next steps. No response to email after more than a week, so I called. I got the PO on the phone, and we scheduled a meeting to discuss the grant. The PO missed the meeting (i.e., did not answer the phone at the appointed time). Any advice for whom to contact next? Or how to interact with the non-responsive PO?NIMH is listed as secondary on the application.

    • writedit said

      You won’t want to contact anyone at NIMH (they do not become involved unless NICHD relinquishes the application and unless they are very interested in picking up your application – any of this must start with your PO). If you did not send the non-answering PO an email after the missed phone call, you should start there, and then try another phone call. If he doesn’t answer either after another week or so, then you might check with the Branch Chief (for whichever Branch your application is assigned) to see if something is going on with your PO that you don’t know about – just a brief polite note indicating your concern that the PO missed a scheduled communication and has not respond and requesting advice on what to do next. POs are incredibly busy and have their own personal lives, and recent hires may need some mentoring as they adjust to their new role. Always be patient and give them the benefit of the doubt, but asking for advice from someone else in the branch or division is appropriate at a certain point.

      • parc said

        Thanks for the advice! This is a first for me, as I have always received a prompt response from PO’s at other institutes, e.g., NIMH where most of my grants are funded. I did leave a voicemail and sent an email after the missed call. I will wait awhile to see if the PO gets back to me. If not, I will touch base with the Branch Chief as you suggest.

      • writedit said

        If you have a good relationship with your PO at NIMH, you might also explain your situation and ask him/her about the NICHD PO. Often they do not know each other, but if the science is similar, they might, and in that case, your NIMH PO might be able to give advice on making contact (still can’t take the application without the NICHD PO involvement) or might be able to suggest a different PO to contact in the meantime (for advice – application stays with assigned PO). Did you request assignment to NICHD (rather than NIMH)?

      • parc said

        I do have a good relationship with my NIMH PO, but didn’t want to breach any protocols (which is why I solicited advise from this awesome resource). I may contact her for advice given our preexisting relationship. In the cover letter, I listed both ICs.

      • writedit said

        Asking to move the application would be out of line (at least right now) – asking if she knows what might be up with your PO and/or has suggestions for an alternative contact is fine. She might also suggest some next steps to consider. 16th percentile is a little high but not out of reach certainly.

      • parc said

        Yes, right now I was only hoping to get some advice about next steps rather than asking about moving the application to NIMH. I am anticipating having to submit a revision given the score, so feedback from the PO who heard the discussion was something I was eager to hear. My plan is to wait a few days to see if I hear from the NICHD PO, and then approach others. I appreciate your advice about who those others should be and what to interact with them about.

  119. f32er said

    I am in the 13 percentile for my NINDS F32 – any idea what my chances are of getting funded? (Is it a sure thing/borderline?) Thanks!

    • writedit said

      That should at least be borderline and hopefully within their funding range. When you get your summary statement, check in with the PO about funding likelihood and next steps. At that point, the PO will know whether any concerns raised by reviewers can be addressed by you in a brief rebuttal when NINDS considers your application.

  120. Trashed K99 said

    Just a note to future K99 applicants about my experience. K99 (1st and only submission) triaged after Reviewer 1 stated that my postdoc publication record (including a 1st author paper in eLife and 2nd author paper in Science) was too meager to compete for the award. Happily none of the other reviewers shared this opinion, but it was enough to kill my application. Given how hard it seems to be to get a job without one of these it looks like Reviewer 1 has officially put my career on life support!

    • IntraNIA said

      K99 A1 applicant here. In the Candidate section, A0 and A1 reviewers only commented on my publication quantity rather than quality. It could be the section (NIA review), but I found that telling. Comparatively, my ‘best’/highest IF journal is a 1st author in Alzheimer’s and Dementia (high-tier Neurology journal).

      It is surprising that they did not take note of the Science paper.

    • LIZR said

      A K99 can give you a critical boost to be sure, but the relative importance of having a K99 varies widely at different departments and different institutes. My impression is that K99s are much more important at medical schools or extremely biomed focused departments at R1 universities. University biology departments that include a wider range of disciplines may put less emphasis on having a K99. If you don’t have a K99, being awarded any kind of postdoctoral fellowship (federal or private) can demonstrate that you can effectively compete for research dollars.

    • TGS said

      I agree it must be very dependent on the study section. I had one first author postdoc paper on my K99 submission (submitted last year) in a journal that is good for the field, but low impact factor generally, and the reviewers didn’t say anything negative about my publication record.
      Regarding the job search, I was offered a position at an R1 before the K99 was official, and hadn’t said anything to the University about the fact that I applied and it was likely going to be funded.

    • writedit said

      Lots of good thoughts and input here about K99 and job search outcomes. Thanks to everyone joining in the conversation.

      First, one reviewer’s concern with publication record is not enough to kill a K99 application. Any reviewer can ask to discuss any application, so if your other reviewers had been surprised that your application wasn’t being discussed (& thought it should be), one or both could have asked to discuss it. Even if you cannot resubmit your K99 due to timing issues, you can still communicate with the PO about how to use reviewer input to prepare for a different K mechanism or an R mechanism application; even though the PO cannot provide feedback on a discussion that did not take place, he/she can provide good perspective on the reviews and your proposal. If you do not see any other clues in the summary statement as to why none of the reviewers wanted to discuss your application (either by giving a competitive preliminary score and/or asking for it to be discussed anyway), then your PO’s third-party perspective might be good to have. Since the review group is within the IC rather than at CSR, your PO would also know the panel well and what they are looking for (in all Ks, not just K99s).

      On the academic side, some search committees do limit themselves to (or highly focus on) applicants with K99 funding, which means they are letting the IC study section do their screening for them. I personally think those that take this approach are incredibly short sighted, especially since so many ICs make fewer than 5 awards per year. The likelihood of one of these awardees aligning with the faculty needs of a particular department seem slim. Search committees that look for similar qualifications as those displayed by K99 awardees (e.g., publication record, creative research ideas, solid training & skill set) are likely more common. As LIZR, TGS, and SCG note, the department and school are probably big factors in determining the importance of high impact or high numbers of publications (but obviously any search committee wants to see that you shepherded an entire independent project of your own to completion, including publication).

      At BICO, my favorite story of a recommendation letter was all of one sentence: “I don’t know what will be doing in 5 years, but I know it will be good.” ( turned out to be one of the best postdocs this researcher ever had) Such a simple strong vote of confidence from the right person can make all the difference, and as SCG notes, being seen and heard is critical to get your application out of the pile and onto an interview list. The same intangible benefit can also be true for grant applications (i.e., reviewers have seen/experienced the science being presented by the applicant at a meeting, to have a sense of both the science and the person).

      • Trashed K99 said

        Thanks for the comments everyone. As many of you guessed, it’s the 4 year cap that prevents me from resubmitting.

        In my case, I got 1’s and 2’s with a 3 for my mentor/collaborators from Reviewer 2 and 1’s and 2’s from Reviewer 3. Reviewer 1, however, gave me a 6 (ouch!) because of my publication record. I appreciate that in theory it’s possible that anyone can ask for an application to be discussed. In practice, I would guess that Reviewers 2 and 3 probably just had enough other high scoring applications that they didn’t want to get into a fight with Reviewer 1 over this.

  121. SCG said

    I’d like to say a few things here to hopefully be a little bit encouraging to people who find themselves in this situation. For really quick background- I’m finishing my time as a postdoc. I applied for faculty jobs last year and was happy to get an offer at a place I’m really excited about, and I start my position in the new year. I have a K99 (soon transitioning to an R00).
    1. I assume in your case you aren’t resubmitting because you’ve exceeded the 4 year time limit (I’m not a fan of the new shorter time limit), but if the reason you aren’t resubmitting is that it was triaged, my K99 was also triaged in the A0, also due mainly to my publication record (my main story had not yet been published). My A1 was funded because I was able to address that concern, and also through making major changes to the proposal itself (which I came to see were needed once I got over being annoyed at the reviewers), and submitting the A1 to a different IC with their prior approval. So its totally possible to go from triaged to funded for the K99.
    2. While I don’t need to tell anyone that it is very hard to get an academic position in the current climate, I will say that you do not need a K99 to get a job, so I don’t think your career is on life support because of this. I know it sounds all very well and good for me to say that, but for example: the department I’m joining made 2 hires in the last round- my fellow new hire does not have a K99. Nor did any of the of other junior faculty in the department, all hired since the mechanism started in 2006. Nor do most of the other new hires in other similar departments at my university. And I was passed over for other jobs in favor of candidates that didn’t have K99s. Its true that K99 awardees have a high success rate in finding jobs (correlation and causation are hard to tease apart there though), but the converse that if you don’t have one you will have a much harder time finding a job, all other things being equal, just doesn’t seem true to me.
    3. So what can help if the K99 doesn’t pan out that is actually under your control? In my case I think networking really helped me as much as, if not more than, having the K99. I don’t think this gets talked about much when we’re giving job search advice, and I’m honestly surprised to say how big a difference it made for me, given that I’m fairly reserved and never thought of myself as good at networking. Having someone on the search committee who knows you/has met you/saw you give a talk can help you go from the pile of 30 people with strong CVs to the interview list. I got at least a couple interviews that way, and definitely the job I ultimately accepted. So focus on going to as many meetings as is reasonable, and do whatever you can to get to give a talk. Also get in touch with grad school classmates who’ve gotten jobs who you respected and who you think respect your work, etc etc. Again, I was surprised to see how well this worked for me. In addition to the obvious of doing the best science you can, its something you can take action on still. Good luck!

  122. NewPI said

    I am a new PI ready to submit 1st R01. I am ESI eligible; will I lose ESI status if I add a senior person as a Co-I?

    • writedit said

      You can have senior investigators as co-investigators (senior/key personnel) without any impact on your ESI status, but if you apply with both of you as PIs via the Multiple PI option, then the application will not receive ESI consideration during review or for paylines (& if funded, you would lose your ESI status – but you’d be funded).

  123. David said

    Does anyone know how the new 4 year rule with K awards applies if your defense/graduation date fell around a resubmission deadline? I.e. submitted K award in June, got scores back in November was planning on resubmitting for March resubmission deadline but that falls after my 4 year mark (Feb. 28). Was planning on submitting all information prior to Feb. 28 four year date, but when I talked to PO was told I can’t do resubmission deadline because it is after my four mark. Anyone else run into this issue or been told otherwise? I’ve heard in past if you had a deadline that fell before resubmission you could still submit as long as first submission came before deadline. Thanks.

    • writedit said

      I assume you mean a K99 application. Yes, you must be within 4 years on the date the application is due (i.e., March 12) – not the date you choose to upload the application to grants.gov/NIH eRA Commons (e.g., Feb 28):

      Postdoctoral candidates who have terminal clinical or research doctorates (or equivalent doctoral degrees) and who have no more than 4 years of postdoctoral research training at the time of initial application receipt date, or subsequent resubmission(A1) are eligible to apply. What is meant by “at the time of initial application or subsequent resubmission?” This means that, regardless of whether the application is New or a Resubmission (A1) application, the applicant must have fewer than 4 years of postgraduate research experience at the application due date. For example, if an applicant is within the 4 years of eligibility at the time of the initial application due date, but not within the 4 years of eligibility at the time of resubmission, he/she is no longer eligible to apply for the PI award, and may not resubmit the application. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/QsandAs.htm#1601

  124. SCG said

    For my K99 I was able to use the date I started my postdoc training as the marker ( that is actually what the rules reference- though this was under the prior 5 year rules) as opposed to when my phd was conferred. May vs July of the same year in my case and the let me resubmit for a july 15 deadline vs my july 1 postdoc start date. So some ICs may be a little flexible. There is someone listed for each IC somewhere who set their specific policy on this. I forget what the title is off the top of my head. That is who okd it in my case. So I’d find and email them in addition to the PO just to check. You may be able to get just enough wiggle room to resubmit.

    • writedit said

      The NIH has tightened the rules on eligibility in the most recently reissued K99-R00 announcement. In the early years of the program, ICs had a lot of flexibility. As far as I know, though, the date on which the PhD is issued starts the clock for both ESI and K99 eligibility, unless you formally get an extension – but it is certainly worth asking the K99 PO at your target IC for confirmation/clarification.

  125. citizensci said

    I have been in contact with two PO’s for the past year about my applications. This round, I replied to a PAR, and spoke with the PO listed as the contact PO for NIMH about 2 months prior to the deadline about my project. I also spoke with a different PO in the same office about a different grant application and notified them of my intent to submit this new one. After submission, I emailed them, “I submitted in response to PAR, indicated so-and-so in the cover letter. I plan to submit another new one in May that’s related to the past one that wasn’t funded from Sept’s cycle.” My application was sent to the SS that I expected, but the PO who is assigned is neither of the individuals that I have been in contact with or the listed contact PO on the PAR. Should I say something? Should I be concerned? Does this mean they think it’s not going to get a good score or be funded?

    • writedit said

      You do not need to be concerned at all. You might let the POs with whom you have had contact know that a different PO was assigned and ask whether one of them should have the application. Sometimes they don’t know (or notice) that your application was assigned to someone else (they are all communicating with hundreds of PIs), sometimes their portfolios are being realigned & redistributed, especially if a new PO has been hired. If you really want one of them, and that PO is appropriate, the application can probably be moved. Better to ask now than later, though. Just know that the assignment does not at all reflect the quality of your application or their interest in it.

      • Citizensci said

        Thank you! As you probably know, every deviation from expectations can ring alarm bells for the young & hopeful.

  126. Hopeful said

    I submitted an R21 in June which was sent to NICHD and scored in the 11th percentile. I believe the score is slightly above the pay line …any chance that because the application was in response to a PA that it will be pushed through? Council met last week and although I contacted my PO, he hasn’t responded with any updates. Any advice for what to do at this point? I’ve already submitted the A1 which should be reviewed next week.

    • Hopeful said

      Also ..my status indicates council review completed. If it’s on the path to funding I know that this will change to pending administrative review but if it’s not funded, will the status change?

      • writedit said

        Your eRA Commons status stays at Council review completed forever – or at least until the application is Administratively withdrawn in a few years (sooner if your A1 is funded). Your PO is probably waiting to reply until he has some information to pass along, which he might not have yet – or he may be waiting to see what happens with the A1. No matter what happens with your A1, this A0 remains under consideration (even if the A1 scores higher). If the A1 scores as well or better, though, the PO might push for funding sooner rather than later. If your A1 score goes up significantly, you should wait until you get the summary statement to get in touch with him. He still might be able to help with the A0, but he’d need to see what the reviewers said.

  127. Hopeful said

    Thanks! Does the fact that the application was in response to a PA provide any advantage when funding decisions are being made?

    • writedit said

      No, timing is the same.

      >

    • Hopeful said

      The A1 scored in the 6th percentile which is less than 9th percentile posted payline so hopefully I should be good to go?!?! Also, I just noticed that my start date was erroneously set to be 9/1…can I change that to be sooner? If not does that start date still fall under FY2015?

      • writedit said

        Congratulations on the exceptional score, which (barring an unforeseen administrative issue) should certainly get an award. Your PO might look more kindly on the A0, now, too (i.e., fund A0 rather than make you wait for A1, but ICs handle this in different ways, so that might not be an option). You can certainly ask to have the A1 start date corrected from Sept 1 to July 1 when you submit JIT – that is not an issue.

  128. Leah said

    Hoping for some guidance:
    I submitted an F31 in Aug ’14 to NICHD.
    Received an impact score of 22 (9th percentile) in Nov. ’14.
    NICHD council met on Jan. 21st, established their payline for F31s at 11th percentile.
    My application status still says ‘SRG Review Completed’ (as of 2/2/14). Any idea on when I might hear either way about my application? Or guidance on when I should think about contacting my PO?

    Thanks!

    • writedit said

      Fellowships don’t go to Council, which is why you don’t see “Council review completed”. Your PO can give you an idea of timing, if you would like a better idea of when to expect an award, but don’t worry about the delay. It takes a couple months after the budget is signed into law (Dec) before the ICs have their appropriation processed and ready to spend.

      • Leah said

        Thanks!!!

  129. agus said

    thanks

  130. whatthewhat? said

    Hey writedit, Longtime lurker, first time poster.

    June 2014: A0 submission of R01 (NCI; also New Investigator, but getting on toward the end of the tenure clock…)
    October 2014: 12% score
    Oct 2014 – Jan 2015: Discussions with PO that, while outside 9% payline, optimistic about ability to defend/justify up the pipeline. No need to resubmit.
    Feb 2015: notified by PO that an “internal reviewer” had sufficiently negative things to say about the proposal that PO decided not put forward proposal internally for further funding evaluation. Suggested resubmission, likely July. March was deemed “too soon”.

    Huh? The PO’s description of what comprised the “internal review” made it sound like a scientific review that was conducted by a single person not part of the study section. And PO said nothing about this as recently last week. And, unlike summary statements, I don’t have access to any of the internal review criticisms. Is this normal? Do I just take a deep breath, step back and resubmit while addressing the study section comments? Are there any other options?

    • writedit said

      This is not unusual: both that the PO was optimistic and then suddenly not (they really don’t know until select pay discussions start, which can’t start until after a budget is in place etc.) and that an internal review was involved in deciding whether to consider your application for pay by exception (above the payline). The internal review was by your PO’s Division or Branch chief, who makes decisions as to which applications scoring above the payline should be recommended to the IC Director for select pay awards based on programmatic interest. NCI also includes internal review by the SPLs (scientific program leaders), but your application didn’t make it that far. These decisions are based on what other work in your area is already funded (or being considered for funding) by NCI and whether NCI has a burning desire to see your project in their portfolio. The decision is not based on scientific merit (your study section did that) but on what is best for the Institute at that moment. Yours was being compared with all other applications scoring in the 10-15th percentile range – a huge range of science & scientific needs (vs your own niche as in the study section). Remember too that not all applications in the 10-15th percentile range even get considered for select pay, so it’s nice that you have your PO’s attention. The fact that your PO suggested July rather than March suggests some concern with preliminary data or feasibility perhaps – did you ask for more details on your resubmission strategy? (eg, do I need more preliminary data to make my case?). You’ll want to know that you are addressing both the reviewers’ scientific concerns and NCI’s programmatic concerns.

      • whatthewhat? said

        PO and I had a nice long discussion about what the internal reviewer’s main concerns were. PO recommended July for extensive “justification and rationale” additions and revisions. Also, moving Aim 3 to Aim 1 so that the logic flowed better, which would have knock-on effects regarding how and which things are subsequently discussed. The preliminary data didn’t seem to be the main issue. But seeing as how it will have been over a year since A0, we will certainly have more, including a recent additional publication.

        Thanks so much for the reply. And for the continuing insight into this process. It is extremely helpful (and comforting) to understand where these seemingly random decisions are coming from.

        I see you as this NIH Zen Master, absorbing unceasing waves of anxiety. Dispensing logic and calm. I will continue to refer to your comments sections as the NIH Koans.

      • writedit said

        You have a fantastic PO – really happy for you. I can see why the suggestion to wait until July rather than March. Submitting in Feb/March, unless you absolutely need to for tenure reasons or to avoid two applications in the same cycle (n’at), should never be a priority, since the federal budget process (or lack thereof) means the first cycle awards will never arrive on time and usually not until the second cycle awards (i.e., June/July submissions) are due. You’ll want to ensure the logic and experimental strategy is clear and compelling, and I bet you will find some new bits of the story to add. The publication will help, too.

        I am humbled at the thought of being an NIH Zen Master, so thank you. I strive to keep the blog as informative and supportive as possible for all involved (posters & lurkers), and I’m happy to help absorb some of the anxiety that has sadly become a fact of life in the biomedical research community. I often feel like my day job at BICO is one of being a research therapist.

      • Emaderton3 said

        What if your PO is a Program Director of a specific branch? Is it then their call to make as far as recommending an application to an IC Director?

      • writedit said

        Having the branch head advocate for your application definitely helps, but there is a group discussion still, whether, for example, among the SPLs at NCI or among Division staff at NIGMS. Not a direct line from branch/division head to the IC Director, that I know of.

  131. ISEEU said

    On commons website, it is said that “The NIH provides the JIT (Just in Time) link in the Commons for applications receiving a percentile of less than 30 or for applications receiving a priority score of between 10 and 60 if no percentile is provided. Please await instructions from the NIH on whether to complete this information”. I have an A1 application that was not discussed at this week’s study section and yet there is a JIT link for this proposal. I wonder why? Has anyone else seen this happening?

    • writedit said

      All applications have the link shown – it doesn’t mean anything (an automatic email is generated for all applications scored in that range in addition to the link being open – the automatic email also lacks significance).

  132. Jeff said

    Dear writedit,

    I just spoke to another early career investigator from another institution. Apparently the approach they employ there is to submit as many RO1’s as possible toward the end of a K award in hopes of securing more than 1 RO1 using the new investigator status. Per this person, you can submit unlimited number of RO1’s and as long as the person has new investigator status at the time of submission (i.e., don’t have award letter yet on prior submitted RO1) they can theoretically get several with the new investigator bump (per this person one of her coworkers got 3 RO1s this way).

    Two questions:
    1) Is this possible?
    2) What are the politics here?

    Clearly the spirit of the new investigator assistance is not to game the system getting multiple RO1’s with it simultaneously. If people do try to do this (and send to different study sections so it is not apparent which apparently is what they are doing) is there a way the reviewers would find out they have multiple grants pending and potentially negatively impact their score?

    Thanks so much,

    Jeff

    • writedit said

      Yes, it is possible and happens (someone posted on this blog about this), but I expect it is rare, and I expect those who succeed likely deserve the extra awards if they have enough preliminary data to support more than one R01 application in different scientific realms/study sections/ICs. That is, they probably would have gotten funded without the new investigator benefit. I have no problem with this as long as each application is strong and compelling – not submitted just to get something in for review. You don’t want to repeatedly send uncompetitive applications to the same study section that you will be going back to for many years to come. Although study section reviewers are told to evaluate each application independently, even when one PI has multiple applications in the same study section, you do not want to cause reviewer fatigue, especially not when you finally have a really good proposal to present. Now, on the IC side, different ICs will simultaneously fund new investigator proposals, but I am less sure how the same IC would handle this (though I assume the person receiving 3 R01s must have had at least 2 from the same IC), especially if the second R01 was scored after the first R01 was awarded, especially for ICs that do not use hard paylines. The science must still be compelling in both applications. That said, again, developing solid R01s covering different science for different SRGs and/or ICs is the best possible strategy for successful funding throughout your career, and there is no reason not to start that pattern at the very outset, during your K-funded years.

  133. Jeff said

    Dear Writedit,

    I just looked in commons and received an impact score (NHLBI, first A0 for an RO1) of 37 and a percentile of 16. I am a new investigator so 16th percentile would be fundable but seems like 37 is not commensurate with that type of percentile?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    • writedit said

      The high score and lower percentile mean that your study section does a good job spreading scores. In newly recalibrated study sections, I have seen impact scores in the low thirties fall in the 6th percentile.

  134. Rockies_write said

    Dear writedit, thank you for all your advice here.

    RE: “Note to all: if you get a score that could be fundable (especially if your PO is encouraging), take steps to obtain necessary approvals (IACUC, IRB, etc.) then rather than wait for Council. This is especially true for the final round of reviews and for any applications being held for possible select pay at the end of the FY – you cannot wait to get these approvals or you may be passed over for an award (ICs must wrap everything up by Sept).”

    In a pending K23, I have a sub-project that is not scheduled to start until the 4th year of the award and will require IRB. Would I need IRB approval for the grant to start prior to an award being made (I have IRB for all other projects)?

    • writedit said

      No, you only need approval for projects in the first year. In any FY, funds will not be released until IRB or IACUC approval is obtained (whether the initial award or a subsequent noncompeting renewal).

      • IntraNIA said

        Brief follow-up question:

        Is approved with stipulations adequate, or is complete approval needed?

      • writedit said

        Not sure what the stipulations would entail. Your office of sponsored programs or research would be able to tell you if your IRB letter is sufficient for the award.

  135. Hopeful said

    Hi WritedIt, thank you for your great blog. It’s a wonderful resource. I just got my K99 impact score and according to my institute, it’s above the regular payline, but below the differential payline. What does this mean? What is a differential payline? I haven’t contacted my PO yet because I don’t have my reviews yet, so I can’t really ask him/her.

    • writedit said

      Which IC? There is no “differential” payline that I know of, unless you are referring to the new/ESI payline break given to PIs of R01 applications (no other mechanisms qualify). There is just one K99 payline for those that advertise a payline for that activity code (most do not).

      • Hopeful said

        NICHD, the phrasing is this: “The 2015 payline for competing K applications is Priority Score 16 with a differential payline for K99 applications of Priority Score 23.”

        Does that just mean there is a different payline for K99 awards compared to other K awards? So I would fall under the 23 instead of the 16? (I received a 22). Also, if I am under the payline in what scenarios (if any) would I not receive the award?

      • writedit said

        Yes, they just mean the payline for K99 is different from payline for the other K activity codes. Although many ICs have a lower payline for K99 applications (than other Ks), you are in luck in that yes, your score of 22 is within the payline of 23. As long as you will complete at least 1 year of the K99 portion, do not have duplicate funding for the work (e.g., a fellowship or other research grant), and have any necessary regulatory approvals, you should be in good shape. When you get your summary statement, you can ask your PO about timing, but you should be able to plan on the ~July start date. Congratulations!

    • Kera said

      Me too! My K99 to NICHD got a scroe within the payline of 23! It’s a resubmission and this is my last chance for K99.
      I still got a lot of criticisms this time (just receive the summary statement, it’s available in 10 days!). And the summary statement makes me feel that this resubmission somehow only fixes part of the issues but further raises other problems….

  136. AnonPI said

    Dear Writedit,
    My postdoc just found out that her K22 application to NIAID got an impact score of 25. This is right at the listed payline. This is good news, right?? Do K apps that meet the payline ever not get awarded?
    Thank you!

    • writedit said

      Yes, this is good news – paylines are up to and including the cut-off score, so unless there is some unforeseen administrative issue, her PO should have good news for her.

      • Kera said

        Dear Writedit,
        I got an impact score smaller than the cut-off score.
        However both my RCR and Vertebrate Animal sections are unacceptable (just got the summary statement yesterday)…
        Could these be the “unforeseen administrative issue” and kill my application?
        Thank you!

      • writedit said

        You will need to fix these to the PO’s satisfaction before an award can be made, but assuming you can address and rectify the concerns raised, you should still receive an award. If you are unclear as to how to fix the shortcomings, talk with your mentor and PO for advice.

        >

  137. I spent 6 months in the lab full time, and resubmitted my F32. Received a score of 14 (6th percentile) on resubmission, submitted to NIAMS. The cutoff indicates 19, so I’m hopeful that they won’t revise lower, and if they do it won’t go lower than my score. I also realized how naive I was the first time I submitted this grant two years ago. It’s not near the K- or R-level award most people are talking about, but hopefully it’ll lead to more.

    • writedit said

      Congratulations on the excellent score! ICs set low interim paylines so they don’t risk having to lower them later. The payline will go up rather than down so you can rest secure about your score, though don’t expect the wheels of bureaucracy to turn quickly. Glad your hard work and experience paid off – best wishes for success with your research and your career in biomedical research.

      >

  138. roops said

    Dear WritEdit, I received a letter of intent to commit to funds for a NCI K22 grant. I have an offer from an institution for a faculty position and they are ready to pay my salary. However I have budgeted my salary in the K22 grant. The institution is not agreeing to place my salary in a separate fund that I can use for my start up. Do you know if it possible to re-budget my K22 grant so that I can use up the salary portion of the grant for other purposes? If so, whom should I contact reading this?

    • writedit said

      K awards exist mainly to provide salary support versus supplies or anything else. You cannot rebudget the salary portion (up to $100K) to augment the $50K in research development costs.You’ll need to negotiate more with the institution – perhaps they could put your salary toward a tech or postdoc if they don’t want to give it to you as unrestricted funds.

      • roops said

        thank you…

  139. Dear Writedit:
    I submitted a resubmission for a K99/R00 to NICHD and received a score of 17 (payline for FY2015 is 23). (I’m cautiously optimistic.) While I await council review in May, should I be getting ready to respond to the comments I received, i.e., Is there the expectation that grantees respond to resubmission comments? I know to prepare the JIT documents, etc. but am unsure about the critiques (which I thought were fair and helpful). Thanks in advance. Your input has been hugely helpful at times when I couldn’t find answers to questions anywhere!
    PC

    • writedit said

      Since you are within the payline (congratulations!), you do not need to worry about preparing a response to the reviewer comments. That is only for applications with scores on the bubble of what is likely to be funded or just above the payline. You should wait to hear from your PO to send your JIT, but if you need IRB or IACUC (or any other regulatory) approval for anything, be sure to get those protocols in and approved now, in time for your JIT.

  140. oncearunner said

    Random question – I submitted an F31 application last week. When I sign in to era commons, I see that the primary assignment is the institute I requested. However, it has also been assigned to two other institutes – is this normal? Thanks in advance.

    • writedit said

      Yes, CSR often identifies, based on your abstract (if not your cover letter), secondary ICs who are interested in your application. This doesn’t affect whether your primary IC will fund your application, but if they are not interested, one of your secondary ICs might be willing to pick up your application (not common, but it does happen).

      • oncearunner said

        Thanks for the clarification. I just found it odd since one of the institutes, NINR, requires F31 applicants to be a registered nurse (and I am not).

      • writedit said

        Well, that is odd, but it used to be some secondaries would kick in $ to share the cost with the primary IC, which is probably why NINR signed on. Not likely to happen though.

  141. KSNY said

    Awesome website. Pretty bummed about my A1 K99 score of 34 (NCCIH/former NCCAM). My A0 score was 57. Since I am out of resubmissions for this one, what do you think about the wisdom of doing a quick repackaging as K01 or R21? I don’t have a summary sheet yet.

    • writedit said

      Are you out of time in terms of eligibility? If not, you can repackage as an A0 again (talk with PO about strategy when you get your summary statement). If you are out of time, you’ll need a faculty position to apply for an R01 (best bet if you have preliminary data – success rates are as bad or lower for R03 & R21, and they give too little time & money to get you started, plus no ESI/new investigator breaks) or a different K mechanism. Some universities will allow research assistant professors to apply for independent awards (not postdocs though), but study sections do not look very favorably on such applicants unless they are highly qualified since they would rather see the institution make a commitment to the applicant (with tenure-track position). This might change if mechanisms come on board for staff scientists, but in the meantime, it’s a tough row to hoe. Your improvement in score should mean something to departments to which you apply.

  142. Tom Laney said

    Any sense of whether an impact score of 17 might be in the money for a DP2? Maybe it is impossible to tell, as they appear to warn that the priority score does not mean so much for the DP2 — programmatic fit etc. being more important.

    No reason to contact the PO until the summary statement posts, correct?

    • writedit said

      That should still be a nice score for DP2, though they do choose based on interest/programmatic priority. You won’t really get a summary statement, I don’t think (not a useful one, unless that has changed in recent years), so you can probably check with the PO in a couple weeks to see where things stand. The PO probably won’t have anything definite to tell you but might be able to give you an idea of where you rank.

  143. NewPI said

    Dear Writedit,
    According to the updated paylines on the NIA website (http://www.nia.nih.gov/research/dea/nia-funding-line-policy-fy-2015), it looks like perhaps my R21 on AD with 14% may be funded.

    Council met today – but I have not received a JIT request via email. I am hoping this is normal. Any thoughts/suggestions?

    • writedit said

      Yes, assuming there are no administrative issues, you should receive an award (payline is up to & including 14th percentile) – but don’t be surprised if nothing happens right away. It’s a busy time with the final Council for the FY plus the June submissions coming up. Your start date is not until July (and you can start after that – it’s not an expiration date), but I expect you will hear something in the next couple weeks and have your award notice processed in June. If you haven’t heard from your PO or GMS by late May, you can check in with them about when to send your JIT info (I assume you have any IRB/IACUC approvals ready, if needed).

      • NewPI said

        Thanks so much!

      • NewPI said

        Writedit,

        I emailed my PO over a week ago and no response. My colleagues are getting notice of their grants being funded that were above payline from other institutes. Is this just NIA? I’m so confused.

      • writedit said

        Not only is every IC different, but even within an IC, award decisions are handed down at different rates of processing. If you are waiting to hear about an above the payline award (select pay/pay by exception), you may need to wait until July or August. Your PO probably has not responded because he/she does not have more information about how far down the paylist NIA will get.

      • NewPI said

        Thanks! The NIA AD-relevant payline is 14% and my application has a 14%, so I believe I am within the payline. This is why I am so stressed that I have not heard anything yet.

      • writedit said

        Not to worry then – the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly, and I expect your PO just doesn’t have any information about when awards will be processed. If your PO hasn’t made any noises about maybe you should submit again, then you are probably waiting in line. Bad news is faster to deliver than maybe or yes.

        >

      • NewPI said

        Thanks for all the advice! My status changed to “pending” yesterday.

      • writedit said

        Congratulations and best wishes for success with your research.

  144. Thousand Words said

    Hi, Writedit,
    Thanks for your insightful posts.
    I submitted a grant to NIGMS last year. PO told me that its impact score was within funding range of the most recent paylist meetings. After January Council, PO informed me that my application did not go forward this round, but that did not indicate that it was not in funding range.
    When would be a good time to contact my PO again?
    Would the fact that this year NIH has four rounds instead of three affact our chance of award?

    • writedit said

      Council next meets May 21-22, so probably a week or two after that (i.e., beginning of June). Hopefully you have submitted the proposal again in the meantime. You could also ask the PO why your proposal was not put forward, so you know how to better appeal to program during the paylist decisions (e.g., were they already funding too much similar work).

  145. Amy said

    Hi, any thoughts on whether a score of 19 might be competitive for a DP2 award? They don’t say much in terms of anything and the PO doesn’t reply. Thanks

    • writedit said

      Possibly, but these are really as much programmatically driven as score driven, so you will need to wait for feedback from the IC.

      • Amy said

        Thanks. Appreciate your fast reply. Trying to make sense of the impact score if it is any good. But, you are right about programmatic considerations. SS did not have any major criticisms but no response from PO for a meeting. Based on your experience, is there any hope? On average, they have been funding 40-50 proposals each year for the past years. But, without a percentile it is difficult to assess where the application stood. No idea when the council is meeting. Commons says 5/15 but no date. I suppose I am getting over anxious about the whole situation. :(

      • writedit said

        You shouldn’t take your PO’s lack of communication as a bad sign (if anything, no news is good news, because it is always fastest to say you are definitely out of the running) – he or she won’t know anything for a while since the score is only part of the process, and this is not a situation where you could talk with the PO about the criticisms to address them. I just learned that interviews are being scheduled in a month for the DP5 finalists, so probably decisions on the DP2s will be made in a similar time frame (i.e., you’ll have a bit of a wait still).

      • Amy said

        makes sense. thanks a bunch

    • Jakob Jensen said

      I also have a scored dp2 grant. My status just changed from nih director to niib (nat’l Institute of bio imaging and bioengineering). That is, the grant was assigned to an ic on July 29, 2015. Anyone else get assigned? In looking at nih data, it looks like 6-8 dp2 get assigned to ic each year. Since 2007, all dp2 assigned to ic are listed as funded (except for 2009, when they ran the review different). I’m optimistic, but obviously there’s still a lot of unknowns. Considering emailing a powerful at nibib….though I don’t know any personally…

      • Jakob Jensen said

        Emailing a program officer at nibib, I meant. Darn auto correct. :)

      • writedit said

        The NIBIB PO (who would love the autocorrect) should be listed on your summary statement and/or eRA Commons. If this will be an institute you might be funded by in the future, it would be good to identify a PO who would be appropriate for your science in any case, which you can do by looking at staff assignments by scientific area, searching RePORTER, asking your mentor & colleagues, etc. Good luck.

        >

      • Jakob Jensen said

        Interesting. I checked both era commons and my summary statent. Both refer me to the program official over seeing the dp2 grant process. So, my status has changed to nibib, but the contacts are unchanged (at the moment).

        I searched reporter, and the nibib website, and both suggest I should contact Tiffani Lash. She is listed as a “program director” – but I am guessing that = program officer.

        The email itself is a bit delicate to craft. I’ll say something like “I recieved an update that my dp2 grant has been assigned to nibib, and it looks like a good fit for telehealth. I’m writing to inquire if you might have any information about the application?” Ack. That sounds horrible when I read it. I would hate to annoy a program officer.

  146. Kat said

    I am a K08 applicant. Worked in a fairly big-name lab for 2 years and unfortunately my mentor moved. The first submission was not discussed because of overambitious research plan, lack of prelim data and mentorship issue.

    I managed to publish a Cell paper as a co-first author, and held a high hope for the resubmission. It was scored this time but the score is crappy: 43! Not sure if it has to do with no expert from my field in the study section. Mentorship is an issue that is hard to fix. I may need to find a co-mentor in my geographic area (I have one but he is not in the immediate field).

    I have another year left so I can potentially resubmit again. Just feel kind of crappy and need some suggestion and support. I trained at a prestigious institution, a prestigious lab and have good publications, but somehow they don’t like me. :(

    • IntraNIA said

      I feel your pain. My K99/R00 A0 submission had the senior guy in the field as the primary mentor. The co-primary, however, was just a junior assistant scientist with fewer pubs than I had at the time (long story, don’t ask). All three reviewers dinged me for having the guy on board. They wanted a very senior person to act above him, and in general wanted a dream team.

      So for my A1, I resubmitted with big-name mentors for all aspects of the study. There’s no way possible that all of them would bother to help with a K99. That did not matter to the reviewers, however, as the A1 got funded.

      My take-away is that K awards with mentored components are in the same place as R01’s nowadays: to get funding, you need a bunch of big names who basically vouch for you. What is down on paper about their actual involvement (“I will meet with Drs. Nature and Science on a monthly basis”) seems to receive little scrutiny. As long as your Candidate section was 1’s or mostly 1’s, all the other aspects can be revamped.

      Best of luck with a new A0 submission. Don’t get down on yourself. A Cell paper is very impressive.

      • Kat said

        Thanks for the encouragement. K08 has a high payline (or success rate 25-40%) so if I improve 10 points on the next submission I can probably get funded. Did you get a percentile? I have a score but no percentile, so it is hard to know where I stand.

        Not sure if I should appeal for “lack of appropriate expertise” in the study section. Guess I have to wait and see if my research plan was dinged again this time.

        My PO is very supportive. Before the resubmission, she forwarded my new aims to her colleagues to solicit advice. I thought they would like it better but only slightly more.

    • writedit said

      When you say you have another year left, what do you mean? If you are applying as a postdoc, this is likely a problem for reviewers (in the past, postdocs/research assistant professors could get Ks with the promise of a job upon award, but now reviewers want to see institutional commitment up front). If you are applying as a junior faculty member, I hope you don’t mean that you have one year before your tenure decision (you don’t seemed panicked enough for that …).

      Ks are reviewed internally at the IC, so you cannot expect more than one person to have good expertise in your field, and possibly none, because they are judging the application on whether your overall career development plan will set you up for success in your chosen field of research (this is not a research project grant, so the research per se is not the focus of the review, but rather how you propose it – must be exciting & potentially productive research, but it serves as a platform for establishing your career). They know you won’t be set up for success without a strong mentor. Reviewers want signs of mentorship (& potential for success) to come across in the overall meta-message of your application vs what the text says will happen. The meta-message of your first application was that no one was stepping in to protect yourself from failure (overly ambitious, insufficient data).

      Based on what you said about your first not-discussed application, it seems clear that you do need better mentorship – and the second review recognized this need as well (but also recognized your potential, based on your Cell and other publications). A score of 43 means they took an interest and can recommend specific fixable problems to improve the score (e.g., mentor, no doubt). I think it is easier to fix scores in the 30s+ than in the 20s (which have fewer readily fixable issues). It seems you don’t have your summary statement yet, so the comments will be important when you get it.

      In addition to Intra-NIA’s advice about getting recognized names in the field, who hopefully will communicate with you if not monthly then when it is important, you need to find someone who will take a genuine interest and communicate (whether in person or via phone/skype) with you biweekly-ish about your K08 application, about your schedule of manuscripts and other grant applications in the works (you must have more than one application underway at all times, whether K or R), and your experiments (planned, underway, under analysis) – and about managing your time and commitments to make this happen. You are very fortunate to have a PO who is stepping in as a sort of mentor, but she and her colleagues cannot take the place of someone, whether on site or at another institution, who will make sure you are on track to succeed.

      • Kat said

        I am in a somewhat complicated situation created by myself. I am a junior faculty but have been holding the application for appointment as assistant professor, so I will be eligible for a private foundation career development award as a post-doc or non-tenure faculty. I got criticized on this in the first round for not having a clear academic appointment (I have a clinical appointment as a physician). My division chief and I gave an explanation of the private foundation award this time, but maybe they still want to see the actual faculty appointment on paper. I hope this is the issue, because it is immediately fixable!

        I thought I have to apply for K08 within 3 years of completion of clinical training. But now I cannot find this rule anywhere.

        Totally agree on your thoughts on mentorship. I am unfortunately in a small emerging field with very few experts. I will try to contact the NIH Director that looked at my aims to see whether he knows someone around (I happen to be in the Maryland/DC area. Very close to NIH).

      • writedit said

        Aha, yes, I expect reviewers will be looking for commitment both by your institution to you – and by you to a research career (not only on the condition that you get an award first). You were probably looking at the K99 rules (must be within 4 years) – no such rule exists for the other Ks (except K22, which may or may not be an option, depending on the IC and your field). This won’t be the main reason for the high score, but definitely a (fixable) contribution that will help your score. Your PO will have been at the discussion and can comment on whether reviewers were comfortable with your non-tradtitional situation – and on what your strategy should be for resubmission.

  147. Kat said

    Ugh that is good news. I will just have to keep trying until I can’t. ;-> Am I supposed to learn from this K award application or feel out this study section? I started getting a bit frustrated. I won’t give up yet because I believe I am a very good candidate. Even in the first round when I didn’t have any publication in the related field, my Candidate scores were 2 and 3. It can only go up with a Cell publication.

    • writedit said

      You can talk with the PO about the study section – it is internal to your IC rather than CSR (I can’t provide a link since you haven’t said which one, but either check the IC website for peer review groups or the list of IC standing committees (https://public.era.nih.gov/pubroster/). You might also try submitting an R01 (if you have good preliminary data) or an R21 (if you can propose a genuinely exploratory study – vs a mini-R01 – to get needed preliminary data). You can submit these applications between the K applications – the aims cannot be identical, but they shouldn’t be since the different mechanisms have different purposes (and it is best to have a couple of scientifically different projects in development in parallel). The K success rate is better, and it sounds as though you would benefit from some mentored oversight, but the process of working on the other applications could help you think more clearly about how and what you propose.

      • Kat said

        It is NINDS. Unfortunately I don’t think the K08 project is mature enough to be an R21 or R01 yet. I will need a year or two to get more data.

      • Kat said

        Four weeks passed and I still have not received the Summary Statement yet (so slow….). Now I am seriously considering your suggestion of submitting a R21, since my other colleagues also suggested that. I can easily turn the Research Plan of my K08 proposal into an R21, but then I cannot have the same aims for my A0 K08. The only option I have now is to expand Aim 3, the most interesting idea of my original K proposal, to be an R21. The downside is the A0 K’s Research Plan will be thinned out with two aims. I can probably make something up to be an Aim 3 based on the same old data I have, since K is not graded largely on Research Plan. That will be a crazy amount of writing from now until October!

  148. skulkarni said

    My R21 scored 32 (current NIAID pay line 30). The PO said wait on resubmission as the ‘potential for this submission will be clear before the september deadline’ is this encouraging? does this mean it will likely get funded?

    • writedit said

      This means your PO will know whether your application might be picked for select pay (above the payline) by June or July probably. The NIAID will pay applications scoring within the payline that were approved for an award and then see how much it has left to fund applications scoring above the payline. It is very nice news that your PO thinks yours might be one of these select pay awards. You should keep working on the science, of course (in case you do end up needing more data for a resubmission – and to keep the project moving along generally), but you can wait on reworking the application until July or August.

      • skulkarni said

        HI Thank you. I wrote to PO on friday and she gave be about the same timeline.
        skulkarni

  149. Kat said

    Oh by the way can anybody tell me approximately when the Summary Statement will be released?

    • writedit said

      Probably not a lot of K applications, so I imagine within a week or two (though holiday weekend may cause some delay). If you remember the time span from your first submission, it should be about the same (maybe a little earlier since you were discussed).

      • Kat said

        Thanks. Last time it was ND so it took almost 1.5 month. I think the SRO is slow.

      • writedit said

        Hmm. It should not take more than 6 weeks – hopefully faster this cycle.

      • Kat said

        I am still waiting for my summary statement. My SRO is slow as usual, and I have a feeling that my PO doesn’t want to talk to me until I have the pink sheet. Since there is no percentile information, I wonder how council decides on the number of K awards to fund. The K08 success rate is 30-50% except for a few institutes. I know 43 is a bad score, but doesn’t the success rate mean most of the discussed applications were funded (assuming triage rate is 50% and higher)? Or K applicants tend to get better scores than R?

      • writedit said

        There are too few applications to calculate percentiles, so decisions are made based on scores and internal discussion (programmatic interest in the science/candidate). It is not likely, but you could be funded at 43, especially if your PO knows about the Cell publication (I am not clear whether it was part of this 43 K08 or published after submission) and pushes for your funding earlier than later (i.e., after resubmitting). You’ll need to wait to have that discussion after receiving your summary statement though. It’s still the holiday week – the SRO might have taken additional days off, too – so hopefully you won’t need to wait the full 6 week again.

  150. Curious said

    Hi Writedit – can you shed some light on the council review process for applications to RFA’s at NCI? PO says they are putting forward for consideration my application, but remains otherwise non-committal and says he won’t be able to tell me for sure until after council meets. Do you know if the RFA directors generally put forward for consideration only the number of proposals that they can fund (in this case 2-4), or do they send a longer list and let council decide? The resubmission date falls before council meets. The application scored a 20.

    • writedit said

      Actually, they send a longer list than they can fund to Council for concurrence (with the recommendation for funding). If Council concurs with the applications on the list, then it is back to the Institute Director to make final decisions. Generally Council concurs, but if there is an especially well-funded PI or if one of the proposals seems to include research already well-funded by the IC, they may recommend that the application be passed over. However, the IC Director, not Council, makes the final funding decisions (but the IC Director can only make awards to applications for which there is Council approval/concurrence). After Council meets and concurs with/approves the list of recommended applications, program personnel involved with the RFA initiative will meet to discuss these applications and rank them in order of priority for payment (not necessarily on the basis of score), depending on how far the money goes. At NCI, the SPL (Scientific Program Leadership) is involved in making funding decisions, though I am not sure as to their level of input in RFA programs (vs investigator-initiated) … and I am not sure what changes in the grant award decision process might have occurred since Harold stepped down. Actually, I just checked, and NCI has a nice summary of this process (though nothing that will answer your specific question): http://www.cancer.gov/grants-training/grants-process/application/funding

      • Curious said

        Thanks! That is very helpful – I wasn’t sure how encouraged I should be that they were forwarding the application for consideration. In this case, I think I should keep my expectations low. Thanks again for such a wonderful resource.

      • writedit said

        Well, you can definitely be hopeful – it’s an excellent score, especially since you have no idea what the range was for the RFA. Just don’t count on anything yet. Good luck!

  151. Curious said

    Thank you – I am cautiously optimistic….

  152. JXu said

    Due to the submission policy change in 2014, I am just wondering if NIH has received many more applications than previous years. For those attending recent study sections, did you see a rapid growth of applications? If this is true, then the success rate in FY16 will decrease significantly.

    • Kat said

      Interested to know too. Perhaps that can explain why it takes a freaking long time to get my Summary Statement. It has been more than 4 weeks but I still haven’t received it yet.

    • JXu said

      Just saw a message at http://public.csr.nih.gov/aboutcsr/NewsAndPublications/PeerReviewNotes/Pages/Peer-Review-Notes-May-2015Part2.aspx

      “Reviewers and NIH staff can breathe a little easier,” said CSR Director Dr. Richard Nakamura. “The waves of applications haven’t increased after the initial surge we experienced following NIH’s decision to remove limits on resubmissions.” He noted that, after the policy change last April, incoming applications surged 15 percent. “In the last review cycle, the numbers stabilized, and now they appear to be resuming the slight decline we observed before the policy change.”

    • writedit said

      The timing of summary statement release varies with each SRO, his/her workload, and, since it is summer, personal commitments. If it gets to be longer than 6 weeks, you can ask the SRO when you might expect the critiques. Your PO could also make inquiries on your behalf but won’t know anything more than you.

  153. AA said

    Any idea about what impact scores get funded for the DP5? I got a 21…

    • writedit said

      No idea, and it won’t be based on impact score alone. However, I believe interviews have been scheduled, so if you have not been contacted, you should probably check with the PO to see if they are done selecting interview candidates.

      • AA said

        They interviewed about 30 people last week. Impact scores were posted after the interviews. PO won’t disclose what range is competitive. Anyone have any more info about the DP5 from previous years?

  154. WhatTOdo said

    If a Co-I voluntarily removes self from grant prior to submitting JIT materials, what should the PI do?

    • writedit said

      The NIH must approve the replacement of key personnel after an award is issued, but I believe you can make the change as part of the JIT process without their approval – but please ask your office of sponsored programs/research or GMS first to confirm this. If so, you will need to identify someone else qualified to do this person’s work on the project, get their biosketch, and explain the personnel change as part of JIT.

      • WhatTOdo said

        Thanks! I have hired someone to do the work in my lab, a junior faculty member. Do I need to replace to Co-I if we can do it in my lab now? I have all the equipment etc and experts in place for consult.

  155. writedit said

    As I said, I believe you can make the change on JIT, before the award is issued, so the new faculty member is on the NoA instead of the original person, but please check with either someone in your grants office or your GMS to confirm this is the correct approach.

  156. Eun said

    Dear Writedit,
    I am new here. I was told that the NCI payline will go up this year and I am wondering if this is true.
    Thank you!

    • writedit said

      The hard payline may not officially change, but they now know how many applications have what score and how much money they have left to distribute, which means they’ll know how far down the paylist they can go. Your PO might have a better sense of where you stand now. If you were referring to the FY16 payline, whether it goes up or down depends on what Congress does about the sequester (so be sure to let all your representatives know that you want them to support lifting the sequester & preventing any cuts to the NIH).

      >

  157. Hopeful said

    Hello again! The A1 for my R21 at NICHD scored 6th percentile and I know council met on 6/4 but I have yet to hear that the grant was funded. Is this typical or is there some type of administrative issue that could keep me from getting the award despite my score? I contacted my program officer and he said news should be forthcoming once the budget plan was developed? Aren’t those the paylines and haven’t they already been determined? I’m getting a bit anxious….

    • writedit said

      Your PO is waiting for the paylist to be finalized, and it does not sound like he has any concerns. The bureaucracy does take a while, so not to worry (I expect your start date will be closer to 7/1 than 9/1, but it might be later in July than the first). Have you submitted JIT?

      • Hopeful said

        JIT submitted long ago so I’m ready on my end! The wait is agonizing! Thanks for your help throughout this process.

      • writedit said

        Great – and it is a long wait. You could ask the PO about when the 90-day pre-award spending could begin, if you need to advertise for a position or order supplies/animals, etc.

    • Paul said

      I am in a similar boat, with a good score awaiting word after council (also 6/4 date). However, I never received an official letter asking for the JIT (although the link appears on my commons account) and my institution won’t process the JIT without an official request. Should I be worried that this might ultimately delay funding? Is it possible this is an oversight and I should ask my PO for an official request?

      • writedit said

        If your PO thought you had a chance of funding, you shouldn’t worry about the JIT request (that can come at any time up through Sept), but you do want to have all the information at hand so you can submit everything right away. If you need any oversight approvals (IRB, IACUC, etc.), you should have those now. When the JIT comes this late in the FY (July, Aug), you need to be able to comply within a few days … if you wait too long, the IC may move on to the next application on the paylist since time is tight. A lot of universities tell their PIs to ignore the automated eRA Commons generated link/email since many ICs want the JIT updated closer to the award date anyway. The software overall in grants management software at the NIH is causing some delays, others are due to its being summer (graduations, weddings, vacations), review season, and submission cycle. Your PO should probably know more in the next week or two.

  158. Jerry said

    Is it possible to change the Study Section if it is requested on an A1 application?

    Thanks.

    • writedit said

      Yes, in the cover letter, you can request a different study section, though you will want to give an explanation. You should talk with your PO about switching study sections, if you haven’t already. Sometimes it is a good idea, but only if the first study section was not appropriate (& you did not ask for a change or were not granted a change in SRG) – just because you did not like the prior reviewer comments does not necessarily mean you will do better in a different study section. Your mentor and PO would be the best source of advice, though.

  159. GMS_woes said

    What does one do if the GMS never responds to questions? I recently had a grant transferred to another university which was very painful with this GMS. When it finally transferred, the GMS put the incorrect end date. The university representative has tried calling and e-mailing, but no response. We may resort to submitting a no-cost extension for the original award end date.

    • writedit said

      Some ICs provide contact lists for their GMS teams, and you can look for the chief GMS who oversees yours (your university grants administrator might know these personnel). If no such detailed listing is provided, you or your grants administrator can contact someone in the IC’s Office of Extramural Research. I assume you have let your PO know (if not, be sure to) – he or she might be able to suggest someone higher up in the office to contact as well.

  160. Hopeful said

    Just to be clear, JIT submitted in response to commons generated message not a request from PO or anyone else. Does that matter?

    • writedit said

      You can ignore the eRA Commons-issued JIT request (in the future) and wait for a direct JIT request from your PO or GMS. They can probably use what you submitted months ago, but you may also be asked for an updated version. I assume you have any approvals that might be required in hand due to the prior submission, so mainly they would be looking for updated Other Support information, in case you or any of your key personnel received funding in the meantime.

  161. Kat said

    Hello, I received my Summary Statement today and need some advice. For people who are not following, I was applying for K08 and received a score of 43 for a resubmission. There were 4 reviewers this time. Comments are not bad and again still focused on my primary mentor being away. One of the reviewers gave me a score of 4 for Research Plan and listed the only weakness as “mentor not on site”!? Shouldn’t this be part of the “Mentor” scoring? The panel didn’t like the fact that I did not directly address the mentor issue (by having an on-site primary mentor) or my faculty position (even though my chief mentioned that I will be appointed as Assistant Professor after submission of a foundation award application). They suggested K02 as a possible mechanism.

    Any thoughts? Overall they like me as a candidate. The reviewers seemed to like the Research Plan that I pulled teeth to put together the last minute. Scores are still not that good (3 or 4) but mostly due to non-Research Plan issues (not clearly related to Career Goals, mentor issues, etc.).

    A possibility is to submit a K02 and in the meantime pull out my Aim 3 to be an R21, considering I may publish another paper before the October deadline.

    • writedit said

      You need to have independent funding (usually an R01) to apply for a K02, so that would only be an option with successful receipt of a large foundation award. However, if you are suggesting that you are not appointed in a tenure-track position yet (contingent on your getting the K08), then reviewers are reacting to the lack of institutional commitment in advance of the award. It used to be that postdocs or non-tenure faculty could readily obtain K awards, with a tenure track appointment contingent on the award, but no more (for the most part). With funding so tight, reviewers focus on helping the careers of those applicants whose institutions are committed to them as demonstrated by the TT appointment. Regarding specific points of your summary statement, your PO and mentor should be able to provide good insight. If the reviewers just aren’t excited about the work in general (even if it technically is fine), their scores will reflect this – they are not conveying specific problems for you to correct, just general lack of enthusiasm. Your PO would probably be able to pick up on this in the discussion.

      • Kat said

        Thanks. My boss just emailed the PO to clarify the issue with my faculty appointment. She seems to think this was a misunderstanding by the Study Section. For Research Plan scoring, I had the lower hand because none of the Study Section members are remotely related to my field.

        Your thought about K02 is exactly my concern. More than 10 years ago my grad school advisor did receive his K02 without any other funding source, but that was 10 years ago. Funding is a lot tougher now.

      • Kat said

        Hello. Just found out that R01 will exclude the eligibility of K02, so I won’t be competing with people with R01. PO emailed me right back but is unhelpful and doesn’t appear to understand the K02 mechanism. I asked her about her thoughts on K02. She said besides faculty position I have other issues to address such as mentorship. K02 does not have the mentorship component! She referred me to the training director who based on my experience is not very responsive. I will see what I can do. Sigh….

      • writedit said

        You are incorrect – I am not sure where you read or heard that an R01 would disqualify you when, in fact, it is required (R01 funding does disqualify applicants from most other Ks, including K08): “Candidates for this award must have a doctoral degree and newly independent, peer-reviewed support at the time the award is made. Some of the participating NIH ICs require the candidate to have an NIH research grant at the time of application and that the support be from their IC. Other NIH ICs will accept candidates with peer-reviewed, independent research support from other sources.” http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-14-045.html

      • IntraNIA said

        I wish you the best of luck in moving forward on that. I only have experience with a few POs, but I have seen a lot of variability in familiarity with the arcana of some R and most K mechanisms. Perhaps the R21 mechanism idea is the best.

        If it’s any consolation, I cannot applying for ‘R’ series grants through NIDDK right now. I got a K99/R00 (waiting on award), so I have to remain as a “post-doc” even though I have grad students and committee appointments.

        They really do need a new set of K mechanisms that function like a hybrid of K99’s and R21’s, but for new TT faculty. Or just revise the K99/R00 scope, because it just leads to weird situations.

      • Kat said

        I found this on NINDS’ Website: ” In contrast to requirements of other institutes, applicants are not eligible for this award if they have a major, independent, peer-reviewed research grant (R01, subproject on a P01, or equivalent) prior to receiving the K02 award.”

      • writedit said

        Aha. Very specific to one IC, and very odd use of the K02 mechanism.

        >

      • Kat said

        Interesting right? K02 in NINDS appears to be a bridging award between K08/K23 and R01. The director of training said I am eligible, but the plan may not fly if I cannot address the issues raised for my K08 proposal. My main concern is that the same IC will review my K02. I got a weird vibe from them. They think I am an outstanding productive candidate with excellent institutional support. My research plan is novel and interesting, but it doesn’t suit me because of my previous research background and current position (viewed as unfocused).

        Perhaps R21 is the most viable option. Another alternative is to use a secondary project, get two senior PIs as mentors and ship it to a different IC (NCI). My chief does not like the idea because she truly believes the main project I am working on has great potential. She thinks it is insane to create something just for a grant. But if grant application is a crapshoot, this may actually work.

      • writedit said

        The roster changes a bit each year, but there is just the one career development panel for the IC. I assume they honor requests for added expertise, but you can check with the PO – and also discuss your concerns with the panel. The PO attends the meetings so would know how to advise you on overcoming the weird vibe. An R21 is as hard as an R01 to secure, whereas Ks have much better success rates (usually). I see NINDS funded 3 out of 12 applications last year and 2 out of 9 applications in 2013. NCI does not participate in the K02 FOA, so it would need to be a K08 or other activity code for them (check their website, they have their own programs, too). However, it’s always worth having different projects of interest to different ICs & SRGs in the works to diversity your portfolio and maximize chances of funding and interesting science.

      • Kat said

        Interestingly, my co-mentor, a very senior and famous researcher, told me to just tweak the application a bit and try K08 again. He said, “They are jerking you around a bit – but this is becoming the rule rather than the exception of NIH review panels these days.” Perhaps I should just suck it up and play their game.

        In terms of the Study Section, I don’t think my PO attended this time because she seems to have no clues. Before I got my Summary Statement she said I could re-apply as an A0. Today I emailed her and told her my plan about R21, she said I agree with you that K is not a good fit for you. How can she change her opinion so much if she really knew the panel!?

        One of my friends said I should speak directly to the director of training because he is very involved and participates in most study sections. I tried but got punted back to my PO. Any suggestion to go about this?

        Again I really appreciate all the information and advice you provided. This blog is an amazing resource for grant applicants.

      • writedit said

        As I said, the R21 is a longer shot than a K, but you could find the appropriate PO for your planned R21 & ask him/her for advice on your R21 idea vs K08 (or K02).

        >

    • Kat said

      Can’t agree with you more IntraNIA! Submitting an R21 means at least the application will go to a real Study Section. I may still try K02 + R21 in parallel, hoping one of them will be funded.

  162. Hopeful said

    Are you also NICHD? The fact that you also had a 6/4 council date but are still awaiting word makes me feel a lot better. I actually didn’t get a JIT request from any program people…just the commons generated one.

    • Paul said

      No…I’m NEI.

      I feel better that you didn’t get a JIT letter either. I guess there is some comfort in being in the dark together rather than alone.

  163. ioca said

    Thank you for your answer! Do you know anyone who got their K99 funded with a score of 25 at NIMH?

  164. squishybrain said

    Thank you for maintaining this website. It was a great resource for many of my questions throughout the year of applying for my K01 award. Here is my timeline in hopes that it may be helpful to others! Good luck to all!

    June 12, 2014: Application submitted

    Oct 6, 2014: Scientific Review of K01

    Oct 8, 2014: Impact Score 27

    Oct 24, 2014 : Summary statement (great reviews with some concerns with data analysis, classwork, too much travel, and too ambitious. Added courses, decreased travel, added reference to newly accepted manuscript heavy in neural analyses, and increased timeline to 5 years.)

    Oct 28, 2014: Contacted Program Officer – Grant was reviewed favorably but it has to compete with all K01s for the year 2015. He has seen scores this high get funded and will push for funding but depending on how the rest of the study sections reviewed their grants, it may not be funded. He encouraged me to revise and resubmit to address the minimal concerns the reviewers had.

    Oct 31, 2014: Received email requesting JIT

    Nov 12, 2014: Resubmitted K01

    Dec 29, 2014: Submitted JIT for 1st Submission

    Feb 2, 2015: Scientific Review of K01 Resubmission

    Feb 4, 2015: Resubmission Impact Score 12, JIT Link in Action

    Feb 6, 2015: Council meeting K01 1st Submission

    Feb 10, 2015: Status changed to Council Review Completed for 1st Submission

    Feb 18, 2015: Automated email request for JIT

    Feb 20, 2015: Institutional request for JIT

    Feb 26, 2015: PO contacted me to set up a phone call

    Feb 27, 2015: Conversation with PO requesting a rebuttal to the few points raised by the reviewers. Indicated that score likely funded (no promises) but wanted to have a reply ready if they discussed it again.

    Mar 23, 2015: Formal JIT with immediate follow up requested.

    April 22, 2015: 1st Submission current status changed to Council review completed. Application Status history included Pending administrative review and Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist. Resubmission status changed to Pending in the Status Result – List of Applications/Grants on era commons. Application Status Status: Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.

    May 29, 2015: Council meeting for Resubmission

    June 10, 2015: Application status changed to award prepared

    June 16, 2015: NoA for resubmission and 1st submission status changed to withdrawn by IC – Other Version Encumbered

    • writedit said

      Congratulations and best wishes for success with your project & career in biomedical research! Thank you so much for posting such a detailed and informative timeline.

      >

  165. HB said

    Hello Writedit,

    First, allow me to thank you for all of the effort that you put in maintaining this incredibly informative and useful blog!!!

    Now to my question: I have ESI status eligibilty til July 2017, but am working collaboratively with two more senior investigators on a project that looks promising. At our last meeting, we collectively discussed the possibility of writing an R01. I know that — should this R01 get funded (and that is still a big if) — my ESI eligibility would end. But it was suggested by one of the other investigators that if I were a “co-Investigator” and not a co-PI that my ESI status eligibility would still be maintained.

    Could you please verify and enlighten? I apologize if you have previously addressed this issue, but thank you in advance for your insight.

    Cheers!

    • writedit said

      Glad that you are thinking ahead about this. If you are listed as a co-investigator/key-senior personnel (rather than as a PI as part of a multiple PI submission with the established PIs), then your ESI status will be intact. You can have effort on other R01s with established PIs, just not submit as a PI with them.

  166. HB said

    Much thanks W!
    -H

  167. Hopeful said

    Status on commons this morning says pending administrative review!

    • gxfc said

      Congratulations!

    • IntraNIA said

      Well done!

    • Kera said

      Me, too! It just changes to “pending administrative review” today!

      • writedit said

        This is great news for you all. Remember that it could still take a while for an award and that there is still no guarantee until the award is issued (classic PO disclaimer but true).

        >

  168. IntraNIA said

    Completely unrelated to my K99/R00, I am putting together an NSF Major Research Instrument equipment acquisition grant. The equipment is long overdue on campus and is for making a new core facility. The PI will be a 600+ publications very senior researcher. I plan to be a co-PI to get some credit for the work.

    My question is: if we actually land this grant, would my NIH ESI status go away? NIH here (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/) talks about how at least NIH training grants and “infrastructure” grants don’t count.

    • writedit said

      No, the new/ESI status is only based on your NIH funding, not awards from other federal agencies or from outside the federal government. In any case, an instrumentation award, especially with you as a co-investigator, would not affect your status, even if from the NIH, since the money is used to buy & maintain the equipment, not fund your research specifically.

  169. NervousNelly said

    Is anyone seeing “pending administrative review” from NIA application that went to council in May? I’m on the payline (AD grant) and I still have “Council review completed” in the current application status window.

    • IntraNIA said

      I can only speak to NIA K99’s, but I am on track for getting an NoA and it still reads “council review completed” on eRA Commons. It has since Council met last October or so. (It’s taken forever, but I am an atypical case.)

      So it does happen.

    • MrHopeful said

      The Commons status on my NIA application that went to council in May just switched to “pending administrative review” a couple of days ago after sitting at “council review completed” for almost 2 months. I’m just under the anticipated payline so hopefully this is a positive sign. Not gonna break out the champagne until I get the official NoA, however!

      • writedit said

        Absolutely a positive sign – though you are correct to wait for the NoA to pop open the champagne. Hopefully things will be processed pretty quickly, but you may have another couple weeks ahead.

  170. UBC said

    Hello writeedit,

    Thank you for setting up this site. I have been a loyal reader of this site. I am still early in my career and plan to submit my first R01 in the October deadline. In April, I submitted a phase I STTR with a local biotech for a project that has more commercial value than academic one. The study section met earlier this week and today I saw an impact score of 31 (NIDDK) in commons. I received an email from the SRO two months ago that a summary statement will be available in a month. Do I just wait until then or is there anything I could start to address?

    Thanks again and good luck to everyone!

    • writedit said

      You cannot address any concerns with the PO until the summary statement is available (PO does not get it any sooner than you do), which should be in about a month (don’t panic if it takes up to 6 weeks). That score is probably on the high side of being borderline, so whether your PO can help you will depend on the critiques, which means your PO won’t be able to comment on funding likelihood or anything else until you have the summary statement.

      • UBC said

        Thank you very much! This is super helpful.

  171. oncearunner said

    Thank you for such a valuable resource. I have an odd question – I submitted an F31 application in April, and the study section met yesterday and today. I just logged into my account, and an impact score is already available – does this seem possible, or is it more likely to be some sort of placeholder score or a mistake?

    • writedit said

      That’s your score – the group probably finished early, and your understanding SRO hustled to get the scores up so everyone wasn’t left hanging over the weekend.

      >

  172. Emaderton3 said

    I submitted a new R01 that was not discussed but got the automated JIT request. I know that this JIT request does not mean anything, but I thought the policy was to automatically have it in eRA Commons with priority scores of 40 or better. (My reviewer criteria scores were mostly in the 2-4 range except one 5 and one 6.)

    • writedit said

      The link is opened on eRA Commons for all applications, and I have heard of others receiving automated JIT emails for >40/unscored applications, but I cannot explain why (just remind them to ignore it).

  173. gxfc said

    My R15 application is currently “pending administrative review”
    (hopefully a good sign). However, the “SNAP Indicator code” was
    recently filled as “N”. Is this something normal or I should contact
    the PO to figure out? Thanks!

    • writedit said

      Yes, having your status change to Pending administrative review is good news – no guarantee of an award, but quite likely (assume no black swan event). The SNAP indicator code refers to how you will submit progress reports, so no need to worry about that. Your NoA will lay out all the terms and requirements of your award (always read the entire NoA – there can be surprises).

      • gxfc said

        Writedit, thanks! You are exactly right; my NoA arrived and it says my R15 application is excluded from SNAP because of its multi-year funded award nature.

  174. Agog said

    How does voting “outside the range” work if there is no range in scores between the primary reviewers? I heard reviewers could vote plus/minus one point if this happened without declaring, but I don’t know if this is true? Also, does the situation differ if the no range is an extreme score (1 or 9)? Thanks in advance.

    • writedit said

      Well, I cannot imagine a case in which the reviewers, after the discussion, still set the range at 1-9 or even 2-7, though I guess anything is possible. For cases where the range is 2-3 or 3-4, I believe reviewers are still expected to keep within that range, though I imagine the SRO, who is pushing reviewers to spread their scores in general, could declare at the outset whether scores within 1 of either end are allowable without a formal declaration of voting out of range. Hopefully those who have attended recent study sections will chime in.

      • Agog said

        Sorry I think my question was unclear – by no range, I meant the primary reviewers all chose the same number (for example, 3). If the range is 3-3, what happens then (and is it the same if the range is 1-1 for example)?

  175. tcgal said

    From recent study section experience– the reviewers re-state their final score at the end of discussion, the chair repeats the range of scores to the study section and then asks if anyone intends to vote outside the range by show of hands- the count (or names) are recorded by the SRO. Sometimes the chair asks the individuals who indicate they will vote out of the range to clarify why (or confirm if it was something the individual brought up in discussion). Scores with no range follow the same procedure.. presumably- if all scores are 3 — and no one raises their hand that they intend to vote out of range, then one gets a perfect 30.

    • Agog said

      Thanks so much (both you and writedit!), I appreciate the insights!

  176. ioca said

    Hello Writedit, I received the summary statement for my K99 (which got an overall score of 25) and then the PO asked me to send a 3 page response to the critiques. I have to do his very quickly, in a week. I suppose this means that they are willing to consider funding my application? Is this a good sign? Do you have some advice for me at this point? Thank you!

    • writedit said

      This is good news but not a guarantee of an award (you definitely have a supportive PO, though, which is great). My advice is to talk with your mentor and quickly (as soon as possible but no later than the date stated by the PO) prepare a narrative that clearly addresses the concerns raised. You are not writing for the reviewers, so you don’t need to thank them or mention the positive strengths cited in the reviews. You want to focus on the weaknesses described in the Resume and Summary of Discussion and address any administrative concerns that might have been cited by the SRO at the end of the summary statement (regarding budget, human/animal protection, resource sharing, etc.). Your PO will use this document to advocate for the funding of your application rather than the 10 others also under consideration, so you want your response to be easy to present and compelling. You can show it to the PO in advance of the deadline date for his/her feedback as well (and what else they might want you to cover, if they see any gaps).

      • ioca said

        Thank you writedit!

  177. wondering said

    Hello Writedit,
    My R01, in response to a FOA (submitted August 14 and reviewed in April), received a score of 26 and 12th %. I got a JIT request from the PO as well as request to address the critiques. The council “conquered” back in May but the PO says that “the institute has not made a decision on some applications” including mine. The PO said that for grants in my situation at NIMH for grants at 10-20th % the decision is based on 3 criteria: 1) peer review, 2) institute’s priorities and 3) availability of funds. Based on the criteria I would think my proposal should do well (12th % and FOA in which the institute participated- reflecting priorities? ). Yet I am getting a feeling that this will not happen as the PO just tells me to check in every 3 weeks but has not asked me to provide a written explanation for a potential overlap with another grant which the PO has expressed a concern over the phone. Any thoughts or advice on what to do? Is the “institute has not made a decision” just another way saying that the PO has not made a decision?
    Thank you

    • writedit said

      You are still in the running, thanks to your PO – NIMH won’t address the budget overlap until the award is being negotiated. The PO is waiting for his/her superiors to make decisions about which grants in the 11-20th percentile range will receive awards (out of PO’s hands now that the PO has made the case for funding your application). They may not know how far down the paylist they will get until August or September, which is why you were asked to check in every 3 weeks (and nice that you were encouraged to check in vs wait for a response). As a minor correction, the Council “concurred” with the NIMH Director’s recommendations of which applications should be considered for funding (including yours). The IC Director always asks for Council review of more applications than can be funded because they cannot go back to Council and ask them to consider more applications if the end of the FY arrives and all the money isn’t spent (due to some applications having administrative issues, withdrawn, etc.). If your PO has not strongly recommended resubmission, this is also a positive sign (thinks this is likely to be funded) – though you can always ask for advice on reworking this application for the same or another FOA as a back-up plan.

      • wondering said

        Thanks very much! This really helps to understand the process.

  178. Agog said

    As best as I can tell, the NIH grant number does not indicate if the application was a 1st submission (A0) vs. a resubmission (A1) – do people indicate the submission type on their CVs, and if so, what is the best way to do it? Thanks in advance again!

    • writedit said

      The suffix indicates if it is an A1 and only in the first year (there is only the year number for an A0). For example, 1R01CA123456-01A1 is a Type 1 (new) amended R01 application #123456 funded by NCI … 2R01GM56789-06A1 would be a Type 2 (renewal) amended submission R01 application #56789 funded by NIGMS. However, subsequent years would not include the A1 (e.g, 1R01CA123456-02 or 2R01GM56789-07). There is no need to indicate whether a submission was initial or amended/resubmission, but you have the option to include the year number and any suffix with the grant number if you want to convey the submission status of a first year award (not thereafter).

      • Agog said

        Ah thanks so much for the clarification – I definitely did not understand that about the grant numbering system! Your explanation was very helpful with the examples. =)

  179. RJ said

    A colleague of mine recently had an R15 application (NCI) receive a score following an “internet review”. Apparently, reviewers posted their comments and scores, but discussion among the reviewers was only through online posts. According to his PO, the one outlier reviewer (i.e., the most negative) did not participate in the discussion beyond the initial posting of scores and comments. I’ve served on study sections in person and by teleconference, but I’ve never heard of internet reviews of NIH grant applications. Does anyone have experience with these? Are they new? I hope they’re not a trend, since the format largely eliminates the typical discussion among reviewers that forces reviewers to defend their opinions, positive or negative.

    • writedit said

      Asynchronous electronic discussion or internet-assisted meetings have been around for about a decade. They were especially important during the ARRA funding frenzy and following the government shut-down (so an entire review cycle was not lost). Although face-to-face meetings have many obvious advantages, NIH would like to use IAMs more due to the cost savings, but they are still comparing the impact of their use on peer review outcome (though I have not seen much about this lately). You can learn more about IAMs here: http://public.csr.nih.gov/ReviewerResources/ToolsAndTechnology/Pages/Internet-Assisted-Meeting-(IAM)-Overview.aspx

      • RJ said

        Thanks very much for the information and link. I guess I’m lucky that this is the first I’ve heard of IAMs. I understand the need to save costs by cutting back on face-to-face meetings, but live teleconferences should solve that problem yet still require reviewers to defend their opinions among peers. I really hope this isn’t a growing trend.

  180. Sara said

    THANK YOU for this amazing resource. I want to pass along my detailed timeline in hope it will be helpful to others.

    Feb 12, 2014: K01 application submitted

    June 17, 2014: Scientific Review of O1
    June 18, 2014: Not Scored

    July 11, 2014: Summary statement (1s, 2s for candidate but the rest was a mess…3s, 4s, 5s from 2 reviewers and 8s, 9s from 3rd. In hindsight the research plan was completely unclear and the mentorship plan was all over the place; I deserved the bad scores. Specific concerns: mentors at distant institutions; missing mentors in key subjects; mentors all represented the same kind of science; research plan very vague.)

    Oct 2, 2014: Contacted Program Officer – institute wants to fund me as candidate (impeccable training and mentors and a strong early publication record) but I have to write a good grant. Talked me through how to make specific corrections in the training plan (linking each training component to a research or career goal), as well as the research plan (stronger focus on the institute’s disease; the level of specificity of measures and methods; using earlier publications as preliminary data).

    Nov 12, 2014: Resubmitted K01 (revisions included a stronger focus on the disease, adding biostat & physiologist mentors, removing the redundant mentors, adding research plan details and preliminary data, detailed plan for analysis and interpretation of results, revised conceptual model, more focused training plan)

    Feb 24, 2015: Scientific Review of K01 Resubmission

    Feb 25, 2015: Resubmission Impact Score 30, JIT Link in Action & Automated Request for JIT to institution

    March 6, 2015: Discuss with PO (reviewers were very positive; score is theoretically fundable if fills a need in the branch portfolio and weaknesses can be addressed. Major issues are fixable: A component that was not uploaded to application; Questions about mentors and evidence of collaboration and plans for interaction; disease expertise on mentoring team and at sponsoring institution; representativeness of target population and recruitment approach)

    March 9, 2015: Summary statement reiterates conversation with PO (I have a GREAT PO!!!)

    March 25, 2015: Respond to JIT
    March 25, 2015: Submit 2-page response to PO (supposed to be 1 page)

    June 25, 2015: Council meeting K01 Resubmission

    June 25, 2015: Urgent email from Grant Admin at NIH requesting clarification on budget (nonallowable items had been noted in review) and hinting that I had underbudgeted (!). Responded with clarification and research budget updated to full allowable $30,000.

    I think this was my first encounter with the real JIT? (It seemed rather informal and in fact we forgot to add my annual raise to the amounts since we didn’t realize this was the time to do so.)

    June 26, 2015: Status changed to Council Review Completed. Email from Grant Mgmt Specialist at NIH requesting signing official that award has been recommended for funding at 100% with a 07/06/15 start; acceptance of of terms ($ and start date) required before NoA would be issued.

    June 29, 2015: Status changed to Award prepared; refer questions to Grants Management Specialist (this is what the system is telling me now but I swear I never saw this status show up until 07/03).

    June 30, 2015: Status changed to Pending

    July 3, 2015: O1A1 status: “Awarded. Non-fellowships only.” O1 status changed to “Withdrawn by IC – Other Version Encumbered.”

    July 6, 2015: NoA received!

    • writedit said

      Woohoo! Thank you for posting such a detailed and useful timeline – community input is what makes the site as useful as it is. Best wishes for success with your project and career in biomedical research.

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