Discussion: NIH Scores-Paylines-Policy-Peer Review (discussion closed)

UPDATE 6/2020: I turned off the comment function for this page, so everyone can see all questions and answers in one place (vs trying to track two pages on this blog). I will continue to update the NIH Paylines and Resources page, which is where all discussion of application review, scores, paylines, etc. will be take place moving forward. I will keep this page available for those who have bookmarked it to refer them to NIH Paylines & Resources to discuss anything related to NIH impact/review criteria scores, paylines, peer review, policy changes, and so forth. Please also check a new NIH Grant Application->Award Timelines page, which consolidates all the timelines submitted by blog readers to help others anticipate the time frames for steps along the way from application submission to Notice of Award. I will keep this page as is as the final archive for these submitted comments – past comments, questions, and answers can be found on additional archived Discussion pages by year span (see navigation links on right).

178 Comments

  1. Thomas I Nathaniel said

    I have received my impact score of 21 (no percentile posted) for my NIA MSTEM R25 submission two weeks ago, but yet to receive my statement. However, I received an email asking me to submit JIT. Im not sure what this means, is that a positive chance for the fundability of my grant?

    • writedit said

      The JIT email was automatically generated by eRA Commons (triggered by your score). If your application is considered for an award, you will get a personal email from your PO or GMS when they are ready to process it. You can check with your PO about next steps (sit tight, resubmit, prepare rebuttal) after you get your summary statement (can take up to 6 weeks but usually less).

      >

  2. CT said

    Hi writedit,
    I submitted a K01 grant to niddk in Feb 2018 and it was not discussed. In Feb 2019, I submitted an A1 application that received an impact score of 32. I spoke with the program officer about my application and was advised to put in a new A0 (oct deadline) only if I could substantially improve the application. Based on this advice I decided to wait. I recently contacted the PO again in December and was advised to submit a new application for February because the continuing resolution and lack of a budget will delay decisions on fy2020 grants. Now that the budget has been approved, what do you think the chances of my A1 being funded are? I know that 30s and some 31s were funded in fy19, but not sure how the new budget will affect funding for fy2020 grants like mine. Thank you for your time!

    • CC said

      I am in a similar boat. I submitted a K01 to the NIDDK in Feb 2019 as well. I scored a 29 and was given a chance to submit a rebuttal before the Sept council meeting. After the meeting I reached out the PO to get his input and was told “ As there is no certainly that we will be able to fund your application (possible, but by no means a sure thing), I suggest you plan to revise and resubmit”. I interpreted this to mean it was a competitive cycle and I’d probably not get the award.

      • writedit said

        Possibly – but depending on when you contacted your PO, the future may have looked more bleak to him, so he didn’t want to risk your future, especially since he may not (probably will not) know anything useful until after the February deadlines. Certainly applying again does not put you at risk for anything other than lost sleep – if NIDDK cannot reach for your application, you will have another one in the pipeline. As I mentioned to CT, you might take a hard look and consider whether you are ready for an R01 application (as a back-up) instead.

    • writedit said

      The budget went up for FY20, but the individual ICs won’t have their final appropriation for a few more weeks, and it sounds like yours might be the sort of decision made closer to the end of the FY. Your PO is concerned about you losing too much time if you wait until spring or later only to receive negative news. I would definitely recommend taking your PO’s advice to submit again – you can withdraw it if the A1 is funded after all. Alternatively, depending on where you are with publications and data, you could ask the PO about the feasibility of submitting the projects as an R01 (vs K01). If the science has advanced since last February and you have more publications under your belt and data ready to present, you might be ready for the RPG route (and skip the K series).

      • Pavithra Viswanath said

        Hi

        I need some advice. My R01 received a 9 percentile for NCI in the June 2019 review. My PO said that since the NCI payline for 2019 is 8, it might get funded if the budget becomes available for the new fiscal year. I recently received a request for JIT and the Era status has changed to “pending administrative review”. My problem is that my R01 application has some overlap with a P01 application that got funded for my PI recently. Specifically, the P01 is a smaller part of the R01- the R01 is much broader in scope, using different models, more experiments etc. In actual terms, 3 out of 11 cell lines are common between the P01 and R01 for aim 1. No overlap for aims 2 and 3. Is it safe to say in the overlap statement that “there is minimal overlap- 3/11 lines are common for aim 1”? Are we risking rejection of the grant entirely?

      • writedit said

        Congratulations on both awards! Common cell lines are not a problem unless the same (or very similar) experiments are being done. If it is in the same IC, your PO is probably aware of the P01, so you would just indicate that you will not duplicate work between the two (ie, skip the 3 cell lines in the R01), which I suspect would not change the budget significantly. You won’t endanger the R01 award, and your R01 budget will be cut no matter what (per NCI routine practice, not related to P01), so dropping those lines would help you absorb the loss.

  3. Thomas Nathaniel said

    I discussed with my PO about my (NIA) R25 application today of which my impact score is 21. My take from the discussion is that my application was discussed in the special emphasis panel and that there were few applications and percentiles were not assigned to scored applications. He said that the fellowship program committee meets every month to discuss R24 and R25 applications and he talks about available set-aside funding. I asked about the fundability of my application and he suggested that between March and June, he will be able to know and suggested I should reach out to him often to keep in touch for any update. I am not sure what to make of this in terms of fundability. Any thoughts??
    .

    • writedit said

      This is all positive, though not a guarantee of funding. If you didn’t discuss submitting again (whether an A1 or a new A0), you might ask if you should get another application in for review while you wait (for insurance, in case the 21 isn’t funded). Overall, I’d say you have a great PO who is keeping you well informed – don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions about anything.

      >

  4. hehj said

    Hi writedit,

    I have submitted R01 application last October, and it is supposed to be reviewed on Feb. The thing is that my project is assigned to SRO and GMS, but not to a specific PO yet. I designated this project to an IC at the time of submission, but it is also assigned to another IC although my primary IC did not change. Do you have any idea about this?

    Thanks

    • writedit said

      If you weren’t already working with a PO at NIGMS hopefully you were), one will be listed on your summary statement. CSR (Center for Scientific Review – & referral) looks at the abstract and asks appropriate ICs if they are willing to accept primary or secondary assignment (whether the request was initiated in the application or by CSR).

      >

      • hehj said

        Thanks much for your prompt response. I never worked with any PO at NIGMS, but did with a PO at different IC. No PO assignment yet means no interest in my project? A bit concerned. Thanks.

      • writedit said

        The acceptance of the application means interest. The PO will be listed in the summary statement, but you want to try to identify appropriate POs at each IC where you might apply and seek their advice on your applications before you submit them.

        >

      • hehj said

        Thank you!

  5. Constance Contraire said

    Hi, Anyone know the unofficial payline for K (NCI) last year? Scored 30. Thanks.

    • Jon said

      Hi Constance,

      I asked the PO at NCI about possibility of funding for my K01 (score 20), and he said last year the cutoff was 30. Given that they will have more money this year than last year, it is possible that they may fund some projects in the low-to-mid 30s….My speculation though.

      • writedit said

        Thanks for sharing this, Jon! This is indeed positive news for Constance, whose PO should have an update by mid-February (but could be asked now about whether to prepare a resubmission).

  6. ap said

    My R01 got 4% (NIAID). Council met on January 27th. Status changed to Council review completed but no news on award. Should I worry/contact the PO? Thanks!

    • writedit said

      Not at all! The ICs are just getting their appropriations and have a large backlog of applications from Cycle I to process. They’ll probably get to yours in the coming weeks, and you should have an award by or soon after your April 1 start date. Congratulations on the exceptional score – hopefully no hiccups in the administrative review, and you’ll be underway soon.

      >

      • nb said

        Do you have a sense of how quickly they are working through the Cycle 1 backlog?

      • writedit said

        I’m not there, so unfortunately, no.

  7. GU said

    Hello Wredit,

    NIA just updated their paylines and ESI looks like 16 percentile. This is also the score my R01 (16 percentile)

    On Jan 7th, Just before council ( and prior to new funding line announcement) I asked my PO and he said “It’s being considered and administratively reviewed. But no final funding decision yet. We may know better at the end of Feb or early march”

    After council ( and after new pay lines were posted) my status changed to “Pending”. That was 1 wk ago but no JIT requests yet. Does this mean I will only get a JIT when they are intending to fund ? As far as I understood “pending” usually comes after JIT not before.

    Thank you for your time.

    • writedit said

      You don’t need to worry about anything. They will request JIT when they are ready for it, but if you need any regulatory approvals, you should be working on that now.

      >

      • GU said

        Dear Writedit,

        Thanks for this amazing blog first of all.

        You were right – I got JIT February 10th and submitted it in 13th.

        Since then, my status on the application page turned to “Status: Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist. ” for about 8 days now. Main eRA page still says pending.

        Does this status generally means application is good to go and I am just waiting for NoA to be generated? or do I have other hurdles to clear – like director signing on the final budget, approving my application etc..

        Thank you for your time.

      • edta said

        Congrats. NoA will come out soon.

      • GU said

        Thank you for your reply edta. This is indeed encouraging news.

      • writedit said

        Yep, you will receive NOA soon – no more hurdles for you. Congratulations and best wishes for success with your research!

        >>

      • GU said

        Thank you Writedit, this is a relief. I will post my timeline when NoA is here.

      • GU said

        Hi Writedit,

        I got the NoA this morning. This blog was a constant source of information and was very very helpful, thank you.

        I am posting my timeline with the hope that this would be of help to others

        02/18/2020 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
        01/24/2020 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
        09/11/2019 Council review completed.
        06/17/2019 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.
        03/15/2019 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
        03/05/2019 Application entered into system

      • writedit said

        Congratulations again and thank you for taking the time to share your timeline!

  8. GU said

    Hello Wredit,

    NIA just updated their paylines and ESI looks like 16 percentile. This is also the score my R01 (16 percentile)

    On Jan 7th, Just before council ( and prior to new funding line announcement) I asked my PO and he said “It’s being considered and administratively reviewed. But no final funding decision yet. We may know better at the end of Feb or early march”

    After council ( and after new paylines were posted) my status changed to “Pending”. That was 1 wk ago but no JIT requests yet. Does this mean I will only get a JIT when they are intending to fund ? As far as I understood “pending” usually comes after JIT not before.

    Thank you for your time.

  9. Constance Contraire said

    Dear writedit,

    Got R03 score back today from NCI. An A1 submission. Any chance it could still get funded? Was told anything 25 or below is automatic. Not sure about 30. My sense is it might be a tad bit high. Thanks for your thought.

    • writedit said

      It’s probably a tad high, but when you get your summary statement, check in with your PO about funding likelihood and submission strategies (for new A0).

  10. DShin said

    Dear writedit,

    I had applied for R01 for an NLM special call for proposals PAR18-796 (with special emphasis panel) on July 31, 2019 and have received a borderline impact score of 31 with 16th percentile on November 20, 2019.

    The NLM payline is described as “For Early Stage investigators (ESI) and New investigators seeking their first R01 research grant applications, applications with Impact scores of 30 or better are the most likely to be considered for funding.” and “NLM restricts the number of new awards made during a continuing resolution to meritorious applications from Early Stage Investigators and/or applications focused on high-priority topics. ”

    I am ESI and New Investigator and my PO had not recommend resubmission during our phone conversation in Dec 2019. He suggested just to wait until after council review.

    Today (02.05.2020) my app status changed to “Council Review completed”.

    Should I contact the PO to find out the status or as he suggested to wait until March?
    I have a project start date as 04.01.2020

    Thank you!

    DS

    • writedit said

      If your PO told you to sit tight, then you can relax – he would get in touch if anything changed and he was concerned about your funding likelihood. All ICs, including NLM, are still working on their backlog of Cycle 1 awards (which should have started last December but were delayed by the federal budget impasse). They are just getting their appropriations now, so once the Cycle 1 applications have been processed, they’ll turn to Cycle 2 applications, such as yours. You probably won’t see a change in status until later in February or March, which is why your PO gave you the March timeframe (and, again, the PO would have contacted you if he had any concerns about your receiving an award). If you haven’t heard by mid-March, and your eRA status doesn’t change, then you could touch base for a status update, but I suspect you’ll hear word or see activity by early March.

      • DShin said

        Thanks a million!

      • DShin said

        Dear writedit,

        I have just received an email from my PO with the following content:

        “Dr. Shin,
        NLM is currently in the final stages of making funding decisions. Your application is still under consideration. As you know the reviewers had some concerns with your application. Please provide responses to the following issues…
        …Please submit this material by COB 2/20/2020. If you have any questions please contact me.”

        When we received summary statement last November, my Co-Is and assessed the reviewers concerns as fixable/minor.

        The council review was completed a week ago and now I am trying to understand where my R01 application stands, i.e. whether it was put in line as a backup since my score was borderline (31 with 30 payline) or it can still be funded in this cycle.

        Can you please comment on this?

        Thank you!!!

        DS

      • writedit said

        First, you should send the PO your responses to the issues raised ASAP and definitely by COB Feb 20 (before is preferable, so if your PO thinks you need to provide more detail about something, you have time to do so). Your PO is trying to make the case to fund your application this cycle or at least by the end of the FY (Sept 30) but needs you to reassure other POs and leadership at NLM you can address the concerns raised. The NLM Director (not Council) makes final funding decisions – Council just approved your application for consideration for an award. Now internal discussions will determine the final paylist, and your responses could help your application get on this list.

  11. EmmaR said

    Hello,
    I am currently in the first year of a K23 sponsored by NIA. I am a bit confused about the effort requirements during the first 3 years of the K. I am currently at 100% effort on the K, but wondering if I can either 1. be PI on another grant, or CO-I on another grant, as long as I do not go below the minimum required effort (no less than 75%?) ?I’ve reached out to my PO several months ago to confirm, but haven’t received a response.

    • writedit said

      I agree that as long as you are being paid, you can be a PI or co-investigator with up to 25% effort on the other award (assuming you don’t need a certain % effort for clinical care): “For additional research projects, the effort not directly committed to the K award (commonly up to 25%), K award recipients may devote effort, with compensation, from Federal or non-Federal research projects as principal investigator, or in another role (e.g., co-Investigator), as long the specific aims of the othersupporting grant(s) differ from those of the K award” It is unacceptable for the NIA Training Officer not to respond to you though, even simply to confirm your ability to move forward with the second application. I would suggest you send your query again (perhaps Reply All to your last unanswered message about this to him) and copy the NIA Director of Extramural Activities, Robin Barr.

  12. Thomas Nathaniel said

    NIA just released its 2020 Payline. It shows that the general pay line for “Other NIA-reviewed research” is 20, “Career awards” is 21, while the general payline for “Program projects is 20”. I dont know which of this is related to R25 application, and what to make of this as my score is 21 with my R25 application.
    Thanks

    • edta said

      Career awards are usually K awards given to individual (K01, K08 etc, but often exclude K99/R00), program projects are P grants (P01, P50 etc). So R25 likely falls on other research award category.

  13. Thomas Nathaniel said

    Thanks a lot. My impact score for the R25 is 21 ( no percentlie), and the payline for the research award category where my application falls on is 20, so please what can I make from this?

  14. Thomas Nathaniel said

    Or does R25 has a separate payline at NIA?

    • writedit said

      If your work is not related to Alzheimer’s or related dementias, the impact score payline is 20 (for AD/ADRD, it’s 40), but you may be considered for select pay, especially since the R25 is more education than research. If/when you have your summary statement, contact the PO about next steps, including whether to prepare a resubmission.

  15. Thomas Nathaniel said

    Yes, I received my statement and talked to the PO. He told me that my application was reviewed in the special emphasis section that reviews R24 and R25 applications, and that there will be fellowship program committee meetings. Im not sure the importance of this meeting to my application? He suggested that I should send my rebuttal of critiques to him, which I have done but yet to receive a feedback from him on my chances of funding.

    • writedit said

      Although R25 applications are education awards, the fellowship program (NRSA) meeting will have no bearing on your application – but perhaps could delay consideration of R25s. The fact that your PO requested a rebuttal is good news. This will be discussed internally when the paylist is organized (in order of award priority), so your PO won’t know your chances until the IC Director approves the paylist (and its ordering of applications). If you haven’t already discussed with your PO whether to submit again and, if so, strategies for approaching your revision, you probably want to contact him about this.

  16. Constance Contraire said

    Hi,

    I checked ERA Commons today and saw there is a grants management specialist associated now where there was not one previously. The status also changed from Council review pending to Pending administrative review. Do those two mean that the proposal will be funded? Thanks.

    • SaG said

      My Magic 8 ball says, “your future looks promising.”

      Click to access era_status_codes.pdf

    • writedit said

      🙂 I concur with SaG’s Magic 8 Ball. The Pending administrative review status means they are processing your application for a possible award, assuming no problems are uncovered in the administrative review. Glad your 30 score was not a tad too high – and I’m glad NCI is relaxing its payline finally.

      • Constance Contraire said

        Thank you writedit and to the Magic 8 Ball. The thing I found odd is that Council was today which means it must have changed either before or right after council. Just surprised it could change so quickly.

      • writedit said

        Your application was probably approved electronically en bloc (as part of long list of applications being considered for awards) in advance of Council meeting.

        >

      • Constance Contraire said

        Dear Writedit,

        How long would you anticipate this pending administrative review to last? Based on the experience of friends’ who have gotten the K99 (mine is a K08), everyone who ultimately received an award has gotten a request for JIT. Thus far I have not heard anything except that status change. Thanks.

      • writedit said

        The Pending status can last anywhere from a couple weeks to several months. Since your start date is in April, it could well last through February (and be perfectly normal). If you have a reason to be anxious about the award timing (eg, contract ending, need to enroll in classes or order ahead for research, etc.), you can check in with the GMS about timing and with your own (institutional) fiscal administrator about setting up an account to start spending in advance of the award. If you are secure and okay to sit tight, you can concentrate on planning the research ahead until the GMS or PO gets in touch.

  17. Constance Contraire said

    Thanks!

  18. Santosh said

    Hi, I am waiting for funding decision on my R01. The council meeting was on 11 Feb (NHLBI). When should I expect change in status? (ESI status, score 23 percentile). Thanks

    • writedit said

      Since you are within the ESI payline, you should get a personal JIT request (if you didn’t submit it already), and then the status will change to Pending. Timing is variable and not instant, but since they’ll be trying to get you ready for an April 1-ish start date, this should happen by the end of February/early March (but don’t worry if it doesn’t). The review can take from a few days to weeks to finish, but then you’ll be in the queue for award negotiation and processing (and you won’t be alone). If you need to start hiring or ordering/buying animals or supplies, you can ask your fiscal administrator about setting up an account for pre-award spending, since you should be within 90 days of award (GMS can confirm). 

      • SANTOSH KUMAR said

        Thank you so much for detailed response. No one told me about any of these things and I was wondering about starting recruitment but, hadn’t heard back about the grant. I haven’t heard from PO or any JIT Request yet. Should I email PO about JIT. I am little hesitant as they maybe busy with finalizing the council recommendations. Thank you.

      • SaG said

        Just send in the JIT. You don’t have to wait for a request. If the PO wants to see it they will know where to find it. There should be an active button in your ERA commons acct for your grants office to do it.
        Don’t start recruitment until either you hear from the PO or you get a Notice of Award.

  19. Nkiru said

    How important is the ESI status for K applications paylines? Is the 20th percentile a good place to be for a K23 new investigator A1 application? Thanks in advance.

    • writedit said

      ESI status only “counts” for a PI’s first R01 application – no other activity codes are affected by ESI status. Your impact score is 20 (not percentile), which should be in funding range, depending on the institute.

      >

      • Nkiru said

        Thanks for your input. They provided both the percentile (20) and impact score (mid 30s).

      • writedit said

           Aha – interesting. Usually Ks only get an impact score (and most paylines are by score rather than percentile). Your PO can provide insight when you have your summary statement.

        >>

  20. Nkiru said

    Thanks for your input. They provided both the percentile (20) and impact score (mid 30s).

  21. MD-PhD student said

    I’m an MD/PhD applying for an F30 from the NICHD. I applied in Nov 2019 and got an impact score of 23. They published an interim budget for the fiscal year with a payline for an F30 of 21 in December 2019. However, at the advisory council on Jan 23rd 2020, the new payline for this fiscal year was released and it is a 24 for F30s.
    I am hoping that I may just scrape by, but I haven’t heard anything since then and the status of my grant is still “Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending.” Any advice on what to do? Should I email my PO? Just wait for a status change? Thanks so much for any advice!

    • MD-PhD student said

      Sorry, I applied in Aug 2019 and got my summary statement in Nov 2019**

    • writedit said

      If the payline was pushed up to 24, you are fine (it is retroactive), assuming there are no administrative issues discovered when they go to process your award. Institutes are still catching up on issuing awards from Cycle 1 and now Cycle 2, so the delay in status change is not worrisome. Now that you are within the payline, you don’t need to touch base with the PO really (unless you have another question) – you can wait for them to contact you.

  22. SANTOSH KUMAR said

    Hi,
    My grant status shows PENDING. What does it mean? Any idea?
    Thank you

    • writedit said

      This is good news – they are processing your application for a possible (likely) award, assuming no issues turn up in the administrative review.

      • santosh said

        Thank you. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  23. MD reward said

    Hello,
    I submitted an A0 application about 2 years ago and it scored 37. The resubmission scored a 30 and 13th percentile. My PO recommended this for funding in February but said NIDA could not reach my grant when they started pinching pennies so he’d recommend it again in May. He advised to that submitting a new application that addressed the second round of reviews to the same study section wouldn’t hurt but I just received the score it was not discussed. I’ll wait for the reviews but has anyone had this happen? Similar grant, same study section- wildly different scores? Also do you think this will dissuade the PO from recommending the resubmission in May?

    • MD reward said

      I should mention this is for a K08.

      • nb said

        I have a very similar situation. PO was going to try to reach for the A0 after council approved it, but I haven’t heard a final word on that since the budget was passed. I had submitted an A1 just in case, and the A1 just scored a bit worse by the same study section (almost certainly different reviewers). I am wondering if the A0 could still get funded, and/or would they try to do something to rescue the A1.

      • MD reward said

        Hi thanks for sharing! Mine didn’t do a bit worse it did significantly worse – just shows how inconsistent the review process is!
        Anyway looking forward to any advice.
        Thanks

    • writedit said

      Going from 30 to ND is not typical but not unheard of. Your PO will probably still push for funding in May (award would be at the end of the FY) – but he’ll want to see your ND summary statement to ensure the second set of reviewers didn’t pick up on serious problem(s) the first group missed. If your PO feels the reviewers missed the significance of your work and thinks all methodological concerns can be addressed in a straightforward manner (not requiring changing the aims), then he’ll want you to write a rebuttal that helps him justify his advocacy. I have had colleagues in this situation still have the lowest scored application funded after an ND resbumission.

  24. AD said

    Hello,

    I am on year 2 of a 4-year NHLBI K23 award. I intend to apply for an R21 this year. Do you know if one can apply/receive an R21 on an active K23? I tried to look for this on the NIH website but what I found was from guidance in 2005 (R21 allowed) but unsure if the rules have since changed. My PO retired recently, and I don’t yet know who the next PO is going to be yet.

    Thanks!

  25. AA said

    Hi Writedit,
    I just received a K99 score of 27, no percentile, from NHGRI. The PO says that he can’t tell me if I’m “reasonably above borderline” till May (after the Council review meeting) and it is better to have a conversation after the release of summary statements (in 3 – 4 weeks). Also, there is no percentile or payline for NHGRI’s K99.

    At the same time, I’m in the late stage of a job interview (I’m going back for the second round for onsite interviews), which has a high chance of becoming an offer and I really like the position.

    Should I discuss this with my SRO or PO and ask them to expedite the release of my critiques? Do they know (from previous cases) my chances and if I describe my situation will they share that info with me? I assume if I want to do any of these, it should be after a concrete offer from the University.

    Job-wise, should I discuss the possibility of K99 before or after the offer? I’ve heard that a one-year deferral is pretty usual, but my current training plan is for two years. Will NHGRI compromise?

    Any input is appreciated!

    Thanks a lot!

    • writedit said

      If you like the position and could spin your R00 project to an R01, then you might want to skip the K99/R00 and start your faculty position sooner than later, if you get the offer and you don’t feel that you need additional mentored time. The NIH used to be very flexible with the K99/R00 mechanism, but they’ve tightened the rules to ensure the K99 is used as intended. Most ICs do not want their K99 awardees (and especially K99 applicants) on the job market, because the K99 time should be for those who need more mentored training before they become independent. If they are looking for and especially if they are interviewing, like you are, for jobs, they probably don’t need a K99.  Also, the R00 is not a good deal when it comes to funding a research project – no indirects and no option for renewal – so you are better off starting your new position with an R01 (which will be easier with ESI status). If the position is good, feels like the right fit for you personally (you like your future colleagues n’at), and the start-up will set you up for success, then you probably want to think hard about skipping the K99/R00 and taking this opportunity. If you don’t feel as though your can talk this through with your mentor, then probably go to the PO for advice on the K99/R00 (with deferred faculty position and only 1 year of K99) vs the faculty position now with R01 based on the R00 project (your PO, especially once the summary statement is back, should be able to comment on whether your R01 would be welcome and competitive at NHGRI). You might risk the PO saying you are no longer eligible for the K99 on the basis of your job application and potential offer, but that would be the case if you went back and asked to change the K99 to one year in any case. Perhaps others in this position will chime in, too. 

      • AA said

        Thank you for the detailed response! I didn’t know that I can ask PO’s input on the possibility of submitting the R00 as R01, this is helpful.

        I will immensely benefit from at least one-year training in biology and genetics (My Ph.D. was purely computational [no biology or genomics], limited postdoc training in computational biology and biostat, and the potential position is in a Biostat department)

        Because of the same reason, I think starting with K99/R00 will make my future R01 stronger (e.g., I had a hard time filling my Biosketch with biology-related projects in “Contribution to Science,” since most of my published works are purely computational).

        So I definitely have a case for extra training. At the same time, the potential position is exciting and also is aligned with the NHGRI’s mission. But as you correctly mentioned, I’m afraid that discussing this with my PO or SRO may lower my chance of getting K99. But it seems that if I’m offered the position, there is no way around it…

        I’d appreciate it if anyone else with a similar experience shares their thoughts.

      • writedit said

        If you are offered the position, you have two possibilities. If this is an institution with a CTSA award, you could ask if they have any KL2 slots available to give you protected time and training during your first couple of years, to get you ready for either an independent K (if you are a eligible in terms of citizenship) or an R01. If there is no CTSA or they have no slots available, then you could bring up your K99 situation and desire to have the year of training in molecular biology-genetics before moving full-time into statistical genetics (I assume). With an offer secure but the opportunity to wait in hand, you could then ask the K99 PO about your situation, including switching to one year of K99 support. If the PO says no, you still have the job offer (it wasn’t contingent on the K99/R00, as some offers are) and the opportunity to push forward with the R01 and possibly some protected time for training in molecular genetics as part of your start up package. You should be a very attractive candidate worth accommodating (ie, hiring university should be willing to accommodate you).

      • AA said

        Thank you Writedit! Having extra training as a part of the startup package is a very creative solution!

        I just had the second interview on Fri and will get to know the decision in two weeks.

  26. HY said

    I’ve just got the score (17, without percentile) back from NCI F99/K00. I found only one example of F99/K00 here, wondering if there’s any ballpark for being funded.

    Short googling said <20 is promising, but I've also found that some post-doc grant wasn't awarded even with the impact score of 16…

    • writedit said

      That seems like a promising score, but I suspect decisions for the F99/K00 mechanism are not made on score alone, so you’ll need to wait for your summary statement and then check with the PO about next steps (prepare rebuttal, plan for another application, sit tight).

  27. BV -2020 said

    Regarding an R15 that is within the payline (24 impact score, not percentiled, payline set at 30), what are the chances of funding? There are no concerns in the summary statement, council review is months away, and no PO has been assigned yet.

    • writedit said

      If your score is within the payline, you should receive an award, assuming there are no problems uncovered by the administrative review (that cannot be addressed). If you need to obtain any regulatory approvals as part of JIT, you should start those now so everything is in hand by the time Council meets.

  28. JD said

    I just received an impact score of 33 on an initial submission for a K01 through NIDDK. I anticipate this will be outside the fundable range but was curious about others recent experience.

    • NephroLover said

      Congrats on your excellent initial submission score. A colleague in my department had his K01 funded that has an impact score of 32 last submission cycle. I think he was almost certainly on the bubble and helped by the increase in NIH budget that was recently passed.

    • writedit said

      Thanks for jumping in with your intel, NephroLover! JD, when you have your summary statement, consider how you would respond to reviewers and get in touch with your PO for next steps. They’ll probably want a brief rebuttal to the concerns raised and can give advice on planning your A1 submission, if that is needed (probably recommended for insurance).

  29. BSC said

    I had a K01 submitted to the NIDDK in cycle 1 of FY2020. It had an impact score of 29 and was not funded.

  30. Santosh said

    Hi
    Today, I received the NOA (R01, NHLBI, ESI). I wanted to share the status history. Thank you for helping through this long waiting period and good luck to all those who are waiting.

    Status History
    Effect Date Status Message
    03/06/2020 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
    02/27/2020 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
    02/18/2020 Council review completed.
    10/18/2019 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.
    06/27/2019 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
    06/04/2019 Application entered into system

    • writedit said

      Congratulations and thank you for posting your timeline! Best wishes for success with your research.

  31. seetheworld said

    Hello,

    I have some questions on the special consideration for ESI (early stage investigator) and NI (new investigator).

    0. Are these special consideration pan-NIH or IC-specific?
    1. Both cases are for special consideration for the first time R01 equivalents, right?
    2. My understanding is that ESI must be NI (haven’t been previously funded via R01 equivalents) AND within 10 years of their terminal degree or the end of their postgraduate training. The last part is a little confusing. For PhD, do the post-doc years count towards the 10-year limit?
    3. If the PI was a co-PI (not the submitting/corresponding PI) on a R01 equivalents, would that disqualifies the PI from the ESI or NI special consideration when the PI submits his/her first own R01 equivalents?

    Many thanks!

    • writedit said

      0. Definitions are NIH-wide, but some ICs do not recognize New Investigator status (only ESI).1. The status only applies to the review and payline criteria for first-time R01 applications.2. Correct – all NI are also ESI. ESI clock starts when PhD awarded (post-graduate training refers to medical residency, not non-clinical postdoc positions). For information on ESI, check out https://grants.nih.gov/policy/early-investigators/index.htm and https://grants.nih.gov/faqs#/early-investigators.htm (and ask your PO about specific individual situations)3. An NI or ESI as part of a MPI (multiple PI) application will lose special status – it does not matter who is the contact PI. NI or ESI as co-investigator (not in a PI role) is fine.

      • seetheworld said

        Dear writedit, Thank you so much for your reply!

    • Dee said

      Umm no. For PhDs that is their terminal degree. Doing one or two of a million post docs doesn’t beget one another degree. You remain prof so and so , PhD.

  32. k-applicant said

    Hello, I received an impact score 12 points above the posted payline for an initial K-award application. I wanted to ask for advice on how to interpret the score. How common is it for a resubmitted application’s score to improve by 12+ points? I realize it depends on many factors, and I plan to schedule a call with the PO after I receive the summary statement, but if you have any insight, anecdotes, or pointers to data/information that would be very appreciated. Thanks!

    • edta450 said

      My A0 was exactly 12 point worse than my A1(which was funded with very narrow margin). There will be a few points you can relatively quickly improve (like some missing components in your training plan) and a few other points you really can’t (like, publication record). In any way, it is quite possible to improve by 10+ points.

    • Karen W said

      My K application improved by 20 points on the resubmission. I addressed every single comment they made and I hired a grant writer who I did not use the first round. The grant writer does things with the writing that make a huge difference, even though they are not a content expert. Sometimes that actually helps because they get it to the point where they understand it as a lay person.

    • writedit said

      You’ve had great suggestions and encouragement from edta450 and Karen. You should recognize some obvious areas to address from the summary statement, and even if you do not hire a grant writer, just getting another set of eyes on your proposal will help – preferably someone not familiar with your work. If your institution has a CTSA-funded center or institute or an office of career development, they might be able to help review your application, too.

    • k-applicant said

      Thanks very much your the suggestions and encouraging anecdotes!

  33. mazdak18 said

    We submitted an SBIR NCI direct phase II proposal, received a score of 34, it was above the payline so the PD recommended to resubmit. Summary Statement showed Reviewer 1&2 loved the proposal but reviewer 3 brought down the score (the scores for this reviewer did not match comments and they were few point lower what logically it should have been to read on the comments considering the NIH scoring guideline).

    We addressed the comments and resubmitted to the same panel. Now the proposal is “Not Discussed.”

    Just wanted to get some thought on this. (Have not received the summary statement for resubmission yet).

    • mazdak18 said

      *few point lower = few point worse

    • writedit said

      This can and does happen (even with applications that had better scores on the prior cycle). If your PO was enthusiastic about your work, it’s not impossible to have the 34 funded (as select pay) – that is, the ND does not remove the 34 from consideration – but that will depend on the summary statement for the ND application. If these reviewers raised a legitimate concern not flagged by the earlier panel, then your PO will advise you to revise and submit again (which they certainly will anyway – but they will be unable to advocate for the 34 application iif there are serious newly raised concerns).

      • Maz Oskoui said

        Thanks for the helpful information. There were no fundamental concerns regarding the proposal in the summary statement and the PO was quite enthusiastic about our proposal. I guess we will have to wait to receive the summary statement and will have to skip this next cycle as we will not have the summary statement before the deadline.

      • writedit said

        If your PO is enthusiastic, they should be receptive to a rebuttal to the ND summary statement to help justify supporting a select pay award for the 34 application. Again, this will depend on whether the second panel raised a legitimate concern completely missed by the first panel (and the PO). You would be looking at the summer cycle for your next submission no matter what, and you would want to take the time to get it right, too.

  34. R01query said

    Dear writedit, thanks as always for the wonderful blog and advice. What is the degree of involvement of the PO for an R01 grant that receives a score within the payline (i.e., no additional review)? Should the applicant make the first step in contacting? Or is PO’s time better spent on advising grants that are in the grey zone? Does the PO still screen fundable-score grants or is Council routing and review automatic?
    Thanks

    • R01query said

      I meant “below the payline” in my previous question. Sorry for the confusion

    • writedit said

      As SaG said, everything is pretty automatic, and you’ll be contacted if they need anything, but POs do like to be in communication with PIs who will be in their portfolio. When you have your summary statement, you could touch base to confirm that everything is a go.If you will need any regulatory approvals, you would want to see how that is being handled at your institution during the COVID-19 emergency and let your PO know if you anticipate needing extra time for anything. This is probably one time when PIs are in no hurry to receive an award as they likely cannot start the research while universities are in remote operation mode.

  35. SaG said

    It varies by ICs. If they have a hard payline then you can just wait until they contact you. For most “below the payline” apps things happen automatically. You could send in your JIT but it wont speed things up much. It rarely hurts to send an email to the PO after the Summary Statement is released asking for advice.

  36. Lawson said

    A few more twists and turns than expected, thanks for all your help!

    03/27/2020 Application awarded.

    03/18/2020 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.

    02/15/2020 Worldwide pandemic

    01/08/2020 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.

    10/01/2019 Continuing Resolution

    08/29/2019 Council review completed.

    07/24/2019 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.

    02/25/2019 Council review completed.

    11/15/2018 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.

    09/17/2018 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.

    09/04/2018 Application entered into system

    • writedit said

      Woohoo! Finally! Congratulations and best wishes for success with your project! For those who wonder how long the “Pending” status can last and whether COVID-19 is affecting NIH operations (or what can happen when the Federal Budget is delayed), please note the time frames here.

  37. Perseverance said

    Hello, I’m disclosing my career development grant arc over the last 4 years. Keep on hustling and believe in yourself!

    Thanks to everyone who posts on here!

    11/16 – NHLBI K99 Not Discussed
    06/17 – NHLBI K99-A1 Not Discussed
    06/17 – Ran out of eligibility to submit K99 again
    06/18 – Fired from lab for not having potential
    07/18 – Joined lab that believed in me
    10/18 – Submitted NIDDK K01 project that was designed from scratch in 3 months
    02/19 – NIDDK K01 scores 48 (outside of payline)
    07/19 – Resubmit NIDDK K01 addressing major concerns
    11/19 – NIDDK K01-A1 scores 28 (on the bubble)
    02/20 – Resubmit NIDDK K01 as a de novo application
    02/20 – A day after submitting NIDDK K01 receive pay letter for NIDDK K01-A1 application scored at 28
    03/20 – Receive NIDDK K01 Notice of Award

    Timeline from ERA commons.

    03/20/2020 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
    01/30/2020 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
    11/01/2019 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.
    07/12/2019 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
    07/09/2019 Application entered into system

    • writedit said

      Wow – what an inspiring timeline! In addition to benefiting from a more supportive lab, you also have a much better grant outcome. You’ll be able to get a special NIDDK R03 during your K01 and then be in great shape for your first R01. The R00 is not renewable, is not a lot of money, and often comes amidst significant change (move to new institution, launch new lab, take on new roles). Thank you so much for sharing your experience – best wishes for success with your project and your career in biomedical research!

  38. Bhaskar said

    Dear Writedit members:
    I just got my score of this RFA:

    PAR19-294 “Early-Stage Preclinical Validation of Therapeutic Leads for Diseases of Interest to NIDDK” study section, 2020/05.

    Only got IMpact score 34, no percentile. Could you please any one advice me whether this is fundable impact score.
    Thank you all again.

    • writedit said

      Because this is a PAR, your score may not be the only thing NIDDK takes into consideration. Your summary statement will be important here, and your PO’s thoughts even more so, since it will depend on your ranking among other applications and whether you address a critical priority in their portfolio. When you have your summary statement and have given some thought to the concerns raised, you’ll want to get in touch with your PO to discuss next steps.

  39. Richb Iyids said

    I am about to resubmit my R01 grant application, and I was wondering if it is allowed to change my proposed funding institute at this stage. The A0 of the grant was scored in the 17th percentile, but my NICHD PO completely ignored me. I spoke to him once after the summary statement was released. He was not sure about whether the grant will be funded or not (due to the looming government shutdown). Following the council meeting and passing of the budget, I needed a direction about my application. Hence, I emailed and called him (left voice message) several times. I also emailed and called his secretary a couple of times, but neither of them responded to me (I was embarrassed, to say the least). My proposal fits other institutes with a current payline of 16. I am not sure if there is a mechanism to switch from NICHD, and if it makes sense to do this. I do good science, but lacks name recognition, which may be important to get a response from some folks at the NIH!

    • writedit said

      I believe changing the IC for the A1 would need a new grant number (including primary IC assignment), so I’m not sure if that is possible or if you would need to submit a new A0 (to the new IC) in June. You should not change ICs without talking with a PO in your desired IC to confirm their interest in your application (otherwise, it may be rejected when CSR asks). SaG offers good suggestions for dealing with your unresponsive PO. Right now, of course, there is a lot going on, so a lack of response is not entirely surprising (and they would not have known about funding last fall). This does not excuse their not replying to your request for direction on next steps, though, so, again, SaG’s suggestions are spot on.

      • Richb Iyids said

        Thank you for your responses. This is a pre-COVID-19 issue. The grant was reviewed last summer. Since they do not use payline, I thought that NICHD POs would be the most responsive, especially for a grant that probably missed the payline by a whisker. I was able to speak to a different PD at the NICHD, and all she could tell me was that my assigned PO is still at the NICHD (probably busy) and that I should resubmit the grant.

      • writedit said

        Thanks for posting your update. All POs should be responsive whether or not the IC publishes a payline – their job is to help extramural investigators. However, there can be variability within and among ICs, just as in any other job role. It’s important to keep in mind, too, that POs aren’t born knowing how to do the job (so those with less experience may be less efficient and have longer response times – especially if they don’t have a good mentor(s) to help them at the NIH).

      • SaG said

        I agree! It is literally part of their job description. No excuses.

  40. SaG said

    As writedit knows I am all for naming and shaming. But, not here. Unfortunately picking an Institute can be like picking your own relatives…not your choice. If you can interest a PO in another Institute in your application they can ask for it to be transferred. I suggest you send an Email to the PO’s boss (or maybe the Director of Extramural Research) at NICHD (cc: the PO) saying that you tried to contact the PO but didn’t get a response and thought maybe they retired. Then ask for another PO to talk to. Nothing lights a fire under a PO than something like that.

  41. Thomas Nathaniel said

    I received my R25 impact score of 21 (NIA) and followed up with my PO. He suggested I should respond to few the issues raised by the reviewers and send to him which I did. I have been communicating with him since then. His latest response is that he doesnt know about the potential for funding yet, and that it will be discussed in the upcoming Fellowship Funding Meeting along with that of the entire of entire FOA. I dont know the role the fellowship meeting in funding decision for R25 application.Can you please help on this?

    • writedit said

      Fellowships (F awards) don’t go to Council – they’re discussed internally at NIA. I assume they figure out how many fellowships they want to award and then consider other education applications (such as R25s) as part of the larger discussion of how to allocate their training dollars. This sounds positive – your PO just needs to wait and see how your application does when discussed by the group.

  42. JIT questioner said

    I received JIT request from NIGMS for MIRA-ESI. But I also received an intramural seed award ($30k, 1yr) from my institution with almost the same title as MIRA. The proposed materials in the intramural award is quite different from the application under consideration (computation vs. experiments) but the overall scientific goals are shared. I worry that the similar title would give impression on scientific overlap. The intramural award has started since Jan 2020 and the entire money has not been spent yet. I’d like to get advice on how to deal with it to minimize budget cut. Any comments would be appreciated!

    • SaG said

      Report the money but my guess is NIGMS will ignore it when making their funding decision. $30k for 1 year is less than what most grantees get just for supplies in a year. Scientific overlap shouldn’t be an issue.

    • writedit said

      SaG responded with my thoughts exactly – $30K is nothing, and the title doesn’t matter if the approach is different. If any of your MIRA budget is cut, it won’t be due to this seed funding – and great news on the ESI MIRA JIT request (final congrats on the award reserved until the NoA arrives).

  43. Richard said

    Writedit, the second NCE of my RO1 will end on June 30. I had expected to close this grant by that time. However, my lab was closed since mid-March due to COVID-19 and we cannot complete this project as planned. Is it possible for me to request a third NCE for this grant? Thanks.

    • writedit said

      This should be feasible given the circumstances, but this is a discussion with your PO. The only point at which it becomes impossible to extend any more is 5 years after the funds have been dispersed. Then the federal government takes them back.

      • Richard said

        Thanks, writedit!

  44. R01NCI said

    I would be grateful for some explanation re: the process of Council pre-review en bloc ahead of the actual meeting. Can an NoA be generated before the actual AC meeting? (This is for NCI). A second question, if animal concerns are raised by the Study Section, does institutional IACUC approval suffice if provided after study group? Or do PO’s ask for “rebuttals” on the animal use section (not the science)? Thank you

    • SaG said

      Theoretically, yes they could. But, there would have to be a good reason to rush things through. Maybe if it was the Sept end of Fiscal Year Council I could see it. Or COVID-related. Yes, you can provide IACUC approval after review. The purpose of JIT requests. And you can rewrite the AS section if there are issues. You don’t rebut you do have to address.

  45. Maria Artunduaga said

    Hi,

    I resubmitted my STTR, and got an impact score of 27 (NHLBI zone of consideration <40) in March 2020.

    I spoke with my PO, he didn't attend the scientific review (was evaluated by another institute) and said I should prepare for resubmission because he has no idea if we will get funded.

    Should I keep my hopes up?

    -M

    • writedit said

      That seems like a reasonable score for an STTR, and POs are always conservative, so I wouldn’t assume the worst yet, but it could be he is concerned that some of the SBIR funding will be sucked up by COVID-19 projects (I have no idea – just a guess). The next submission is in September, so you’ll have a better idea well before then (in July hopefully). In the meantime, you probably should keep developing your project in case another submission is needed. If he did not give any suggestions for revision, you might ask for his input (based on reviews and NHLBI priorities, since he wasn’t at the discussion).

      • Maria Artunduaga said

        Thanks for your response, I appreciate it!

        We spent one hour going over the summary statement and he had some insights on how to clarify a few concerns raised by a particular reviewer. That said, we’re developing a respiratory health technology for COPD that could useful for long-term monitoring of lung function decline in COVID19 patients. I haven’t brought it up to him though, what do you think I should do?

      • writedit said

        All good. It looks like NHLBI is only offering supplements for COVID-19 related work, but NIBIB has a NOSI for the parent STTR and SBIR FOAs that can cover pre-award expenses going back to Jan 20, 2020: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-eb-20-006.html  You could talk with your NHBLI PO about whether they are planning a similar NOSI that might cover your adapted technology and, if not, if you should talk with the NIBIB PO for this Notice (or you could just contact the NIBIB PO). NOSI = Notice of Special Interest … allows ICs to rapidly solicit applications to urgent health issues without needing to prepare special FOAs (which takes time).

      • Writedit – one more thing.

        We just got a Notice of Allowance from USPTO (our patent was granted!). Do you think I should email my PO to let him know? Council is next Tuesday, but I’m afraid this is something irrelevant or he’d get upset. I’ve emailed him 3+ times in the past weeks re. JIT documentation.

        Let me know your thoughts,

        -M

      • writedit said

        Congratulations on the patent! While the news won’t matter to Council specifically, it will be important for your PO to know this during internal discussions of applications. You can send it to him as FYI – no reply needed. Updates like this are not a bother at all, and the news could help him make your case (especially if any of the reviewers had concerns that the patent award might offset). 

      • Maria Artunduaga said

        Excellent! Thank you so much for your quick reply. You’ve been of great help. Hope one day I get to meet you, I live in the Bay Area 🙂

  46. CBIND said

    I’ve been on Pending Admin Review for ~2 months for an SBIR and I’m wondering if anyone has any insight into how backed up things might be with the COVID situation and when funding might be approved.

    I had previously been told by the program officer in a phone call that I was a likely candidate for award, and FWIW it looks like I’m on track for funding. However, follow-up emails to the PO and the grants specialist have been unanswered (only one to each) and we’re more than a month past the grant start date (1 April).

    Anybody else have an update from September 2019 SBIR/STTR submissions?

    My timeline has been:
    3/07/2020 Received notice of intent to award
    3/06/2020 Pending admin review
    1/23/2020 Council review completed
    1/22/2020 JIT submitted
    12/9/2019 Request for JIT
    11/25/2019 Scientific review complete, pending council review
    9/5/2019 Submission

    • Writeit 2020 said

      I am in much worse situation with the following timelines for my Phase II SBIR:

      04/05/2019 – Submitted
      07/01/2019 – Scientific Review Group review completed
      12/10/2019 – Intent to award and request for JIT
      12/10/2019 – Pending administrative review

    • writedit said

      The start date is not an expiration date, and I’ve seen other SBIR-related posts about award delays. I assume this is related to the work from home situation at the NIH due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. I suspect your PO does not know what exactly is happening with the SBIR awards – especially if any of that funding has been redirected for emergency COVID-19 awards. Hopefully your PO will know something and be able to respond later this month or at least by June. You might check in with the PO again about next steps later in May.

  47. Writeit 2020 said

    Can some please help me understand with the following situation of my Phase II SBIR, which received an impact score of 24:

    04/05/2019 – Submitted
    07/01/2019 – Scientific Review Group review completed
    12/10/2019 – Intent to award and request for JIT – Submitted the JIT documents
    12/10/2019 – Pending administrative review

    Thanks

    • writedit said

      I assume you have been in touch with your PO and GMS. If so, and if there has been no response, then you should try contacting both again (recognizing the NIH closure will delay communication), but if you have had no response by mid May, then certainly contact either whomever is directing the SBIR program at your IC (assuming this is not your PO) and/or the director of extramural research at your IC for guidance. In your case, radio silence since December is absolutely unacceptable.

      • Writeit 2020 said

        Yes, I have been in touch with my PO, who is responsive. I have been told by the PO the GMSs are overwhelmed with large number of grants to manage hence the delay. The sad part is, it has been almost impossible to get any update from my GMS, neither my emails nor phone calls get replied. My application was submitted 13 months back, for NIH to act with this slow pace is absolutely unacceptable.

      • writedit said

        Your PO really does not have any involvement in the GMS activities, so there is nothing else they can do – but a 5-month delay in processing an award is unacceptable. I don’t think continuing to contact your application GMS directly will help, but you could inquire with the director of the grants management office or extramural research for an explanation and anticipated timeline so you can make plans for when COVID restrictions are lifted (if they affect your project).

  48. F31-NINDS said

    Hello,

    I just wanted to share my experience of applying and receiving an F31 fellowship because this forum had been so helpful to me during my process. My initial submission received an impact of 35 (30th percentile) and I spoke with the PO at NINDS about it. She provided me with invaluable insight on the weaknesses of my original submission and how to revise my application. I resubmitted the following cycle. The resubmission received an impact of 24 (11th percentile) and the NOA was issued on May 5th.

    04/27/2020 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
    02/01/2020 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
    11/05/2019 Scientific Review Group review completed. Refer any questions to Program Official.
    08/23/2019 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
    08/08/2019 Application entered into system

    06/28/2019 Scientific Review Group review completed. Refer any questions to Program Official.
    04/19/2019 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
    04/08/2019 Application entered into system

    • writedit said

      Congratulations and thank you for sharing this valuable experience! I appreciate your commenting on the helpfulness of your PO. Also, the nearly 3 months of “Pending” status should look familiar to a lot of waiting applicants. Best wishes for success with your PhD and career in biomedical research!

  49. K99candidate said

    Hello,

    Thank you for operating this useful blog for all NIH candidates! I have two questions regarding my recent K99 application.

    1. I got an impact score 43, while the payline of the IC is 32. I think my score is not hopeful for an award. However, JIT request has been posted on eRA common (no email request from PO), and I wonder why it is posted to my application. I thought that 40 is the score set for the automatic JIT request. Do you have any idea?

    2. Given that my score is below the payline, I’m preparing a resubmission regardless of the result of the council meeting. I saw some people recommending a communication with the PO about a revision (possibly with a draft of introduction). I wonder whether you’d recommend that. I worry that the PO can be annoyed with these kinds of request, and this may affect my future communication with her.

    • writedit said

      The JIT link is open for all applications, and I believe while the initial intent was to have eRA generate JIT requests for applications scoring under 40, as far as I can tell, almost any scored application has an automated request generated. The only JIT request that “counts” is one from a PO or GMS.  You should definitely contact your PO about your resubmission (which you need to get in). Your PO was probably at study section and so can give you additional insight and advice based on the discussion (the SRO can’t capture everything in the summary statement). The PO’s job is to help extramural (outside NIH) researchers, so a polite focused request should not be annoying at all. Rather than send an open-ended question, you could draft an outline of how you will respond to the critiques and what changes you plan to make and seek feedback on your plan for revision. I suspect with your score that there were clear areas of improvement articulated. Your mentor should be able to help with this process as well. 

      • K99candidate said

        Dear wrtedit, Thank you very much for your reply. I’ll articulate my questions/plan for a discussion with the PO, as you suggested. Just for clarification of your comment saying “I suspect with your score that there were clear areas of improvement articulated”, do you mean that my score is close to the payline (and therefore it might be fixable), or the opposite, my score is far from the payline (and therefore many things need to be revised for consideration in a resubmission)? I only got the major and consistent criticism on one of my aim. Given that the IC does not provide ‘percentile’, I have no idea where my score belongs to. I’d appreciate any of your insights. Thanks!

      • writedit said

        I meant because your score was high (well above 30), there must be an identifiable (and therefore fixable) problem that the group agreed on. I don’t think your IC will reach to fund your application, but you can always ask your PO as part of your seeking advice on the resubmission.

  50. Worried said

    Dear writedit. Today I found out that a well-known foundation of national renown and scope, abruptly and without warning terminated my grant due to COVID-19 budgetary constraints. Frustrated and surprised to say the least. I have an NIH project grant for FY20 under administrative review- any chance the NIH may follow that path? Thanks

    • SaG said

      You should tell the PO in charge of your app. They might be able to help.

    • writedit said

      Wow – I realize foundations have more discretion with their funding, but I am still surprised that they would terminate a grant in progress. The ICs set aside the majority of their budgets for noncompeting renewals and competing awards that advance their mission. They all set aside a portion of the competing award funds for discretionary spending (no set amount – varies widely), so this is what would be diverted for COVID-19 funding now. I think you should be okay, but, as SaG recommended, you should definitely let your PO know what happened with your foundation award (you would need to update JIT in any case, I assume).

  51. Writeit 2020 said

    It will be helpful for NIH to conduct a survey of the experiences of the grant recipients’ PI and SO with PO and GMS from the time of the receipt of the summary statement or intent to award till the NOA. This may help NIH understand the issues grant applicants experience.

    • writedit said

      They actually have studied this and considered shifting submission dates to align with the typical budget cycle (ie, working under the assumption that Congressional approval of the federal budget will be late) so there is less delay between review and funding (for those with competitive scores). I am not sure what happened with this – I know the tough part is getting overloaded with more applications in a compressed time frame, which might also cause delays in processing – and the hard cut-off of September 30. And of course, sometimes miracles occur, and the federal budget is in place on or near Oct 1. The SRO is only involved with the review (not involved after summary statement issued). The PO and GMS often do not have information or recourse when the problems are due to federal delays out of their control (and then a backlog of applications to process). It would be better if they were more communicative, but don’t forget they are fielding communications from investigators planning/submitting applications, making decisions after peer review, negotiating notices of award, and managing post-award changes (investigators move, team members change, administrative supplements, budget cuts, etc.) – all for hundreds of different investigators. If they have no update to send, they might think it’s better to wait until there is news – though the radio silence is frustrating on the other end, I know. I assume but do not know that ICs and the NIH OER to seek feedback on applicants’ experience periodically to make decisions.

  52. Psyance said

    Hello – I just received word that my LRP was selected. This is a renewal, and I was on my last attempt at a renewal (last few renewal applications were not selected). So, anyway, obviously very excited. On to the bad news, I also recently found out I am getting deployed (I’m a provider in the Army reserves) and will be gone for 6 months. This means I won’t be around to dedicate 50% time to my research in the first 6 months of contract. Are there special considerations for situations like this? I’d hate to lose this due to something out of my control, especially given that it’s my last shot at a renewal.

    • writedit said

      I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine they give allowances for military duty – I can’t imagine them not doing so, especially now. Your PO (I guess that title applies to LRP – whomever your contact is in the program) will be able to provide guidance about any forms or justification that might be needed  – whatever your next step would be to ensure you don’t miss out.

  53. Asmitha Singh said

    Guidance is greatly appreciated. What’s the difference between “pending” and “pending [insert next step]?” I have a proposal that is currently in “pending” status prior to Advisory Council, which is scheduled for next month. Score is high but possibly reachable.

    • writedit said

      Not much – someone is doing some sort of processing of your application (not necessarily for an award). Because this is prior to Council, it indicates that your application was sent for electronic approval en bloc ahead of the (virtual) meeting. Your IC Director has permission to move ahead on applications on this approved paylist. It doesn’t mean all those applications will receive awards, though. You can check with your PO for an update on whether to submit JIT and/or be cautiously optimistic (and to ask about resubmission, if you haven’t yet).

  54. ahrqkaward said

    Hello,

    I received an impact score for an AHRQ K-award resubmission that was in the 18th percentile. I am unsure whether it is in the fundable range for AHRQ and reached out to request to schedule a phone call with the PO as a next step.

    I think that my application is strongly aligned with AHRQ priorities. Assuming the percentile is borderline or slightly too high for the payline, I was wondering if you have recommendations on approaches that I could take to advocate for the project to be considered for funding? I am not sure if that’s a possibility at AHRQ but would welcome advice.

    Finally, should I also ask the PO whether I can submit the same grant as a new application next cycle?

    Thanks very much!

    • writedit said

      Usually K awards do not have percentiles, especially at AHRQ. Is your impact score 18? Either way, this sounds like a good score at AHRQ. The POs there are fantastic, so you can definitely ask your PO for advice on next steps, whether with this application or a resubmission (including advice on how best to revise your application). You’ll want to go through the summary statement before you talk with your PO and have a rebuttal ready for the concerns/weaknesses raised in the Summary of Discussion. If your PO needs any of this information to advocate on behalf of your application, they’ll ask you to send a one-page summary.

      • Ahrqkaward said

        Thanks very much for the advice! The impact score was 28 and the percentile was 18th. If the funding decision is generally based on score and not the percentile for AHRQ K-awards, my score may be too high for their payline — whereas I thought my percentile may be in range.

        Since this was already a resubmission, I believe I can not re-resubmit. When I follow up with the PO, I’ll ask about the score and for advice on next steps, including if I am allowed to submit the same grant as a new submission.

        Thanks!

      • writedit said

        Interesting. I am surprised that AHRQ calculates a percentile for Ks. Any K score below 30 is at least positive, so your PO still might have good news for you. You don’t mention the activity code, but unless you are no longer eligible (eg, K99) or the FOA restricts you to two applications (I don’t know of any K FOAs that do this, but I haven’t studied them all closely, especially the reissued parent announcements), you should be able to submit a new A0 application (and not refer to the prior submissions at all).

  55. Writeit 2020 said

    I am posting this again, it is June/02/2020 and need some advice and help. My GMS has never been helpful, I was able to talk to her only once since my grant has been under administrative review (12/10/2019), and that was on May, 14th, 2020, the response I got was there is no update on the status.

    04/05/2019 – Submitted
    07/01/2019 – Scientific Review Group review completed
    12/10/2019 – Intent to award and request for JIT – Submitted the JIT documents
    12/10/2019 – Pending administrative review

    • writedit said

      Since this is an SBIR Phase II award (large), it could be the IC is holding these until the final cycle of funding (now). If you haven’t communicated with your PO again, you could ask when the IC plans to make SBIR Phase II awards. If you have tried to reach your PO but not received a response there either, then check the IC website for whomever is in charge of the SBIR office or contact the director of extramural research (neither will know about your application specifically but will be able to comment on the IC status/plans for making these awards generally).

      • Writeit 2020 said

        I would be curious to know if someone had/has similar experience that is, an application submitted 14 months back has now been undergoing administrative review for almost six months. Thanks in advance.

  56. familyman said

    My collaborator and I are expecting to receive a U01 award. We’re MPIs at different institutes. My wife is currently a postdoc at the collaborator’s lab and she will get supported through this U01. I’m wondering if there are any issues in this case, regarding working/hiring family members under the NIH award. Thanks a lot in advance!

    • SaG said

      I don’t think NIH has a policy. But, your Institutes likely have policies. I know of Husband/wife and Wife/husband teams supported by NIH grants.

    • writedit said

      As SaG notes, this is a decision more likely governed by your institution (university) vs the NIH institute. Many are fine with this, while others do not allow partners/family members as formal trainees or staff in a PI’s lab (usually fine in a collaborator’s lab). Since the postdoc arrangement is in place, and your institution allowed you to submit the budget with this arrangement funded, you will be fine.

  57. MG said

    I got a high 20’s score for a R01 application to the NIH Brain. The council meeting came and went –> my status was changed to ‘Council Review completed.” I asked my PO about how to revise. The response was that there is a decent chance it still might be funded; that was 2 weeks ago. However, the deadline for revision is < 1 month from now. Do you have a sense for long prior to the deadline it might take to make a decision? Thanks in advance!

    • writedit said

      It sounds as though your PO must have been pretty confident about funding, or they would have recommended an A1 for insurance. If the last chance for submission of any applications to this FOA is this next cycle, then it’s worth confirming with your PO that you don’t need to prepare an A1. However, if you can submit in November, you shouldn’t worry about waiting for that round. I suspect the federal budget will be very delayed for FY21 such that cycle 1 and 2 applications will be funded very late, so there won’t be much of a penalty time-wise waiting for Cycle 3.

      • mg said

        Thanks. Appreciate the advice.

  58. NIAR03 said

    I got an 8 percentile for my R03 application to NIA. The council meeting date was May 26 but nothing has changed in my status. I asked my PO about potential next steps but didn’t get a response. We put in the application the starting date as July 1, 2020. Any thoughts on how long it might take to make a decision? Thanks in advance!

    • writedit said

      You’ll be fine with an 8th percentile R03 at NIA (you are well below the payline). Your start date is not an expiration date, so don’t worry if nothing changes until later in June or July. The NIH is dealing with COVID both in the workplace (staff working from home, many staff dealing with family health and other issues) and in the research realm (fielding emergency supplements and applications for coronavirus/COVID-19 research). Your PO is no doubt incredibly busy with queries from applicants who need their attention (again, your score is below the payline, so there is nothing else for the PO to tell you). If you have a GMS assigned, you can contact them about submitting JIT – and if you need any regulatory approvals, definitely get everything done ASAP (even without asking the GMS).

      • NIAR03 said

        Thank you! Very helpful suggestions.

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