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.


  1. AD said

    Hi writedit,

    I just received my R21 score for an application submitted to NIA. The impact score was 44 but the percentile was 19.

    The september 2016 payline was 22% for grants focusing on Alzheimer’s for requested funds below 500K.
    What can I make of this?
    Thank you.

    • writedit said

      It sounds like your application was reviewed in a study section that was recently recalibrated, where the SRO enforced the spreading of scores (this results in high scores but competitive percentiles). If your application falls within their Alzheimer’s portfolio, then you should have a good chance of funding, depending on what happens with the election and the budget negotiations in the aftermath.

      • AD said

        Thank you.

  2. Maureen Murphy said

    Is a score of 23 on an S10 grant historically competitive? When does NIH learn what there next fiscal year budget will be?

    • writedit said

      The budget must pass both houses of Congress and be signed in to law by the President, so this will likely happen next year, after the administration changes. This score could be competitive, though funding decisions are not entirely score-driven. When you get your summary statement, you can talk with your PO about your likelihood, recognizing the PO will have absolutely no guarantees and no idea, really, about what the appropriation might look like (any feedback would be based on your summary statement critiques and historical trends).

  3. John said

    We just received an award for a NIAID R01. In the same week we got the award, two of us (one of Co-PIs and primary Co-I) also received notice that we had been awarded a sabbatical semester, which is in the same year data collection will occur. I am scared of approaching my PO with this idea, but has anyone ever heard of deferring an R01 for a year?

    • writedit said

      What would have been best would be to suspend the NOA for a year (before issuing it or starting the work), which is not uncommon. Stopping in the middle is more difficult, depending on the project and the science. If you have already received the award and begun the work, then you will need to talk with your PO about developing a revised budget and plan that indicates how the work on the project will continue in your absence (including reallocating your effort to another investigator, if that is feasible). If only you and your co-I can do the work, then you need to demonstrate the science will not suffer if you suspend work. You will definitely need to talk with the PO no matter what, since both your effort will change by more than 25%, as it sounds as though neither of you can or intend to work on the project during your sabbaticals. If that is the case (ie, you cannot work on the R01 project and no one else can do the work), I would suggest that you consider requesting a delay in your sabbatical until the R01 project is complete (your institution should be thrilled that you need to due to an R01 award).

  4. Johannes said

    Hi Writedit,

    I recently received the 2nd-year fund of my R21, which was 10% less than the originally approved budget (from $125k to $112.5k). Do you know why?


    • writedit said

      The NIH is operating under a continuing resolution, which means all awards are funded at 90% of the approved budget until Congress passes and the President signs a new budget. When this happens, the remaining 10% should be released (no increase or a cut to the NIH appropriation could affect your award, but I expect the NIH to at least maintain the same level as last year). See the CR notice for more details: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-17-001.html … except the current CR now lasts until April 28, 2017 (not sure why NIH did not update the notice, but the same policy applies).

    • fish_fish said

      Hi, Justin,
      Did you get any updated information about your NCI K99? My lab member got 30 in June and he is still waiting for the council meeting.

  5. Justin said

    Hi All,

    I received a impact score of 29 (no percentile posted) for my K99 A0 submission to NCI. Does anyone have any idea where this score falls in terms of fundability?


    • Hi Justin – I am in the same boat. Impact score of 31 but no percentile – submission to NCI for K99. Does anyone know when the percentile is typically posted after you receive your impact score?

      • writedit said

        As I just mentioned, you won’t receive a percentile. When you receive your summary statement, check with your PO as to whether you should resubmit (which is the likely advice, since you can withdraw the resubmission if your application scored at 31 receives an award).

      • fish_fish said

        Hi, laurenecole610,
        Did you get any updated information about your NCI K99? My lab member got 30 in June and he is still waiting for the council meeting.

    • writedit said

      You won’t get a percentile. The score may be high – but it is hard to say what the NCI budget will look like for FY17. Although they received a boost of moonshot funding from the 21st Century Cures Act, little progress has been made (publicly) on the federal budget, though I don’t expect NIH to take a hit. When you receive your summary statement, you can check with your PO about the likelihood of funding and specifically ask whether you should resubmit. My guess is that will be the advice you receive, since you can withdraw the resubmission if this application scored at 29 receives an award.

  6. Gator16 said

    I received a impact score of 30 on an A1 NHLBI K23 application. It looks like the payline is 32. What are the chances my application gets funded? Thanks.

    • writedit said

      Congratulations – unless something goes terribly wrong with your administrative review (& you would have an inkling there might be a problem – it wouldn’t be a surprise), you will receive an award. Your PO won’t have an idea on timing for a while, but he/she can confirm this (best to wait until you receive your summary statement), after which you can sit tight until you are asked for JIT.

      • Gator16 said

        That is good news, thanks!

  7. AnotherNewPI said

    Hi, I submitted an R21 to NIMH back in October, and I just received my scores today. Impact Score: 24 (percentile: 13th). I’ll consult with the PO once I have a summary statement, but can anyone give insight into whether NIMH has funded R21s at the 13th percentile in the past? Thanks!

    • writedit said

      I’ll be interested to see if anyone chimes in, but a 13th percentile falls in the zone of case-by-case consideration, in which case your PO will be the best indicator as to your funding likelihood (based on his/her enthusiasm for your work).

      • AnotherNewPI said

        Hi writedit — thank for the response and the excellent blog! My application was funded, so I wanted to share my timeline:

        06/28/2017 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
        05/26/2017 Pending administrative review.
        03/01/2017 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending.
        10/25/2016 Scientific Review Group review pending.
        10/17/2016 Application entered into system

      • writedit said

        Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing your timeline! Glad NIMH funded your 13th percentile application. Best wishes for success with your research.

  8. Proton said

    What the status “council review completed” really means? Council happened over 1mo ago, no changes after

    • writedit said

      “Council review completed” is the final status for most applications (ie, those not receiving awards). You will hear from your PO (or GMS) with a request for JIT if your application is being considered for funding, at which point it will take on a Pending status of some sort. Otherwise, that status won’t change for years (until the IC administratively withdraws the application).

  9. W said

    Hi, I just got the impact score for my DP2 grant application. The number of the score is very high, which makes me feel bad. Although on the DP2 website, they say “It is difficult to interpret priority scores”, I am curious what is the score range for funding? Also, usually when will the summary statement be released? Thanks!

    • writedit said

      You should get the summary statement within a few weeks – though it can take up to 6 weeks (sometimes more). At that point, you can check with the PO to get a better idea where you stand. A very high score is unlikely to receive an award unless program really likes your science and is ready to take a chance – but it depends on the specific comments (about why reviewers were concerned).

      • HW said

        Does an impact score in low 30s have any chance to be funded for DP2 based on historic data?

      • writedit said

        I am not aware of any historic data on DP2 scores, but your PO should have some insight.

  10. SK said

    What score is considered borderline for DP2 funding?

    • writedit said

      There is no specific score range, but when you have your summary statement, you can check with the PO for some insight as to where you stand.

  11. NewPI said

    Congrats on getting it through both rounds of review – a major achievement!

  12. sk said

    Is scoring for DP2 similar to R01 i,e, scores from 10-30 have a good chance of funding (of course depending on institute/program fit). Since only 20% of the applications get an impact score, are the scores really spread out or do they tend to cluster in the 10-30 range?

    • writedit said

      Unfortunately, I am not aware of current scoring and funding patterns for the DP2s. SROs do try to keep the scores spread, whether half or three-quarters of the applications from the original pool have been dropped, so you shouldn’t assume that all the scores are clustered below 30 (though they won’t be going to the far end of the range). However, I do not have any direct knowledge of how these review panels are run. Based on the DP2 awardees whom I know, program seems to focus on high-risk projects that would be difficult to secure funding through traditional study sections (eg, genuinely multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary projects that span multiple disciplines), so this might not necessarily result in funding based on assigned scores, though IC personnel would pay close attention to scientific concerns raised related to feasibility, rigor, etc.

  13. LCAS said


    I submitted a Phase II STTR January 5th to NCATS, and just received a score of 35.

    NCATS states that it doesn’t have a payline, but rather a “fiscal policy”. What is their process for funding? Can they reach for a score like ours? In the past, our PO has been very supportive, and our topic area (organ-chips) seems to be a big focus of NCATS.

    My other question is how does a January submission relate to the fiscal year? Is this a 2016 FY, or will we have to wait for more info on the continuing resolution?

    Thanks in advance!

    • writedit said

      Your Jan 5 application will be funded in FY17 (started Oct 1, 2016 – currently under CR). NCATS does not fund according to a strict payline, though they are not likely to reach too far up except for science they really want to fund. When you receive your summary statement, you can talk with your PO about likelihood of funding and whether you should resubmit (even if just for insurance). If you have any update data or developments for your technology that might mitigate some of the concerns raised in the review, this would improve your chances of funding – so it depends on the review and any progress you have made since submission.

  14. Newbie said

    Hello writedit,

    I am an ESI applying for the junior NIGMS MIRA. This is actually my second time (not discussed first time). My application was reviewed last week and I received a score of 42. Does this mean that I should move one and there is little to no chance of being funded. Thanks in advance!

    • writedit said

      Last year, scores were pretty high, too. After you receive your summary statement, you should check with your PO about next steps, including whether you should start preparing a different application for submission (eg, R01).

      • Newbie said

        Thank you for your response! Considering the recent depressing news about funding cuts, I am not holding my breath for this one! I have been looking for some data on the GMS website but it seems that there is no reported payline about MIRA.

      • writedit said

        Try searching this page and the NIH Paylines & Resources page for comments about MIRA (unfortunately, I cannot tag comments to make this easier, but using Find to look for MIRA etc. should work).


      • Newbie said

        Thank you and I was able to find some useful info. It seems that a score as high as 48 received funding last year. I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the same outcome!

  15. Weiti said

    Any experience with NIMHD? I got a R03 with score of 35. Can’t find anywhere discuss about this institution. Will talk to PO next week, but would like to have some idea which direction should I go. Thanks.

    • writedit said

      NIMHD is hard to read since they do not fund as many research project grants. Higher scores are usually safer for R03s, but that seems a bit high – for other ICs anyway. You will probably want to plan on resubmission but can ask the PO for confirmation as to whether this will be necessary or advisable (as insurance). If so, you’ll want the PO’s take on the summary statement and any insight from attending the review meeting.

  16. vl said

    Hi! Writedit. I submitted the JIT request from GMO for my R21 1.5 months ago (NIA), but have not received NOA. I wondered if there will be any changes in this potential funding? Thanks!

    • writedit said

      The delay is not a reason for concern, especially during a CR, which lasts until April 28. If Congress then continues FY16 funding levels through the end of FY17, ICs will be able to make some award decisions – though they will be anxious about the FY18 budget, which won’t be known for several months (probably not until after FY17 ends). With an R21, though, you are more likely to be considered due to the short time period (2 y) vs 4-5 y for R01 and other activity codes (i.e., NIA would be more likely to take on a shorter, smaller commitments until future appropriations are more certain).

  17. BB said

    I am a 3rd year post-doctoral fellow, working on rare metabolic disorders. My current research focus on understanding the pathophysiology and developing new therapies for the rare genetic disorders. I would like to continue my carrier in academia. Since I’m in my last stage of the post-doctoral fellowship, I would like to know about the available grant opportunities that I could apply to pursue my carrier goals. Any directions and insights toward this would be greatly appreciated.

    • writedit said

      You are just within the eligibility for a K99/R00 award (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-193.html), which would fund another postdoc year and give you starting research funds once you have a tenure-track position at an academic institution. If you are or will soon be a citizen or green card holder, you could apply for a K22 award (https://researchtraining.nih.gov/programs/career-development/K22), if your interests fall within those of one of the ICs participating in the K22 mechanism (NCI, NIAID, NIDCD, NIDCR, NINDS, NIMH, NHLBI). You could also look for scholar positions available on K12 or KL2 awards at various universities (these are internally funded career development slots, usually reserved for current faculty but also used to recruit & support new faculty). Otherwise, once you have a job somewhere, you could apply for K01 or RPG funding (R01 or R21, depending on the nature of the project).

  18. AA said

    I’m a DP2 applicant with a score that the PO suggested might be picked up based on programmatic interest and might not (32). Are there any tea leaves to be read in the new 2 billion in appropriations to the NIH? I know there were lots of earmarks for cancer, Alzheimers, precision medicine, BRAIN and a smidge for antibiotic resistance. How does this money get spread around by funding mechanism? Might there be more DP2s this year? If my application fits one of the earmark groups is there anything else I can do?

    • writedit said

      There is nothing else you can do to increase your chances of funding. The “earmark” funds for priority areas flagged by Congress will likely be used mainly to increase R01 and other RPG awards (since Congress likes to track the number of R01s), but ICs could use them for other mechanisms such as DP2 (or funds freed up by these “earmark” funds). You shouldn’t count on that, though, and the budgetary emphasis on certain areas will not increase your likelihood of funding specifically. Rather, an IC reviewing your application will need to be excited by you as an investigator and your science.

  19. JL said

    Hi- I recently received word that my SBIR application was recommended for funding during the advisory council meeting. How much stock should I put into the likelihood of funding based on that information (e.g. should I keep holding my breath or allow for a moment of celebration as I continue to wait)?

    • writedit said

      Well, almost all applications sent to Council are recommended for funding, but not all of them will receive awards (an application cannot be considered for an award if Council does not approve it first). You are on the paylist, but until your PO says you are being considered for an award and/or you receive a JIT request from the PO or GMS, then you should probably hold off on celebrations. If your PO says you can be “cautiously optimistic”, then you can put the champagne in the fridge. Alternatively, you can ask the PO if you need to resubmit for insurance (though often a PO will say to resubmit even if you have a reasonable chance of an award, since they don’t want to risk your losing a cycle).

  20. bug said

    DP2s are starting to get assigned to ICs. Mine just got transferred to an institute a few days ago (16 Impact Score). From talking to two POs, they may fund earlier this year than usual (e.g. as early as June/July in some cases). Not sure if that is specific to my situation or more generally applicable. Good luck to all…

    • writedit said

      Great – thank you so much for sharing your intel – and congratulations and best wishes for success with your research!

    • AA said

      As a fellow DP2 applicant, that’s really great to know. Thanks for sharing and CONGRATULATIONS!

      • AA said

        Woah. Just got assigned to an institute as well. Keeping fingers crossed that institute assignment is as predictive of funding this year as it was in years past. The information on this blog has been extremely valuable. Thank you!

      • writedit said

        Woohoo – good luck and please keep us posted!

      • bug said

        Congrats! Counsel met on 18th… Gah! Need to get my new IACUC protocol approved asap.

      • AA said

        Bug, have you heard anything about your DP2? PO for the award had told me that “decisions would be made by the end of June.” It sounds like he said similar things to you. If that’s the real timeline then I’m worried having been assigned to an IC in May wasn’t worth very much.

      • bug said

        Looks like notification to at least some awardees was sent today, official NOAs “in the next few weeks”.

      • AA said

        Congratulations! This is so exciting! And see you in Bethesda in June 2018!

      • HW said

        AA, You got any update after institute assignment ? Mine was assigned to an IC in mid-July, but no further change since then.

    • AA said

      HW, yes. On the 20th I got an unofficial email saying I was a recipient and that i would get an NOA in the next few weeks. For what it’s worth the PO had said to me in the spring that there might be a delay in notification between the awardees whose funding is coming from the OD vs the awardees whose funding is coming from some of the institutes (though I am among the institute funded). Also, the press release will have similar timing to previous years (October), so there is still time. Good luck!

      • HW said

        AA, congratulations and thank you so much for sharing your intel !

  21. NewPI said

    Hi Writedit,
    Just received NOA from NIA and wanted to share timeline if it helps others.
    Timeline as new faculty:
    06/05/2015 – 1st submission to regular study section = not discussed (At first, I was admittedly very embarrassed … now I tell any new PI so they see it can end with a positive outcome… one step at a time).
    12/16/2015 – Revised but sent to PAR for AD as A0 = impact score 47, 41%
    06/07/2016 – Revised and sent to same PAR for AD as A1 and included all suggested changes and new data = impact score 29, 14% (*last cycle for ESI status). I let my PO know that I was losing ESI after this cycle and that seemed to be a relevant fact.
    Council 01/2017 and PO on fence about state of budget and funding
    I emailed PO periodically – through March 3rd – PO had little info to share but always responded and provided a date to follow-up. Have always had good interactions with NIA POs!
    3/3/2017 – PO indicates application on list to be paid
    5/15/2017 – NOA; but cut in budget despite being AD (~20%)

    What is your advice regarding conversations with PO to scale back the science so it can fit into the revised budget?

    • writedit said

      You should first ask how much, if any, of the cut will be restored once NIA receives its appropriation. Certainly not 20%, though, so you can then ask about adjusting one or more aim. You should have an idea in advance of how you would alter your approach (and aims) to be feasible with the reduced funding level.

    • writedit said

      And thank you so much, too, for sharing your detailed timeline. Again, best wishes for success with your research!

      • NewPI said

        Writedit, you have literally been helping me since 2011 starting with advise on my K99/R00 that was eventually funded! Sharing my timeline is the least I can do! Thanks a million!

  22. R21 said

    Thank you so much for this valuable resource.

    When including other personnel in an application (e.g., a named postdoc), is it necessary that they have an eRA commons account (to list on their biosketch)? Or is this something they can register for if the application is funded?

    • writedit said

      It is not required, but it takes so little time that your postdoc might as well register now.

  23. DesperateNewPI said

    Anyone can share the score led to funding of NIH director’s innovator award? I got into the second round review but had no estimate payline.

    • Lili said

      Congratulations on going to second round. That really is something! About the score. I know people with 15 that got it and people with 40 that got it. I also know people with 25 that DID NOT get it. I am pretty confident that for this particular DP2 mechanism the summary statement is very important. You want the reviews to unanimously agree with the “innovativeness”. In other words “approach” is less important (and that can equal to a less than optimal score for example). If the reviews say it is very innovative, flaws like “approach” you can try to address on the two-page rebuttal.

      • DesperateNewPI said

        Thanks Lili, that is helpful.

    • bug said

      Scores I know of from prior years :
      10 got it
      16 got it
      19 got it
      27 got it
      33 didn’t
      34 got it
      37 didn’t
      40 didn’t (my first try)
      76 didn’t

      If you don’t get it on first try, rework it and resubmit. Feedback helped me find the right angle.

      • writedit said

        Congrats on all your “got it” scores – thank you so much for posting this span of scores that did and did not receive awards (and your encouragement to those feeling discouraged).

  24. R01 hopeful said

    Hi –

    I have a quick question about NIH JIT request: is it always the case that if an application is to be considered for funding, NIH will ask for JIT “before” council meeting? Could there be a situation when JIT is requested (and, the grant subsequently funded) “after” council? We have an R01 which seems to be within fundable range (with NIEHS), but our PO hasn’t been very responsive. We haven’t received a JIT request as well. Any advice?

    • writedit said

      The request can certainly come after Council meets. IC procedures differ in terms of the timing of JIT, but they have internal discussions after Council about which applications in the gray zone or submitted to RFAs/PARs should receive awards, so those JIT requests are definitely delayed. If your PO has responded but not been very clear or informative, this isn’t unusual (you might ask if you should resubmit, which is an easier question for him/her to answer), since the final appropriation hasn’t reached NIEHS yet. If your PO hasn’t responded at all (even to acknowledge your contact), unless you do need to know if you should resubmit, then you should wait until mid June (PO may not have information until after Council). If you haven’t had any response since submitting (and/or need to know if you should resubmit in July), then check for the chief of your branch and politely indicate you would appreciate guidance as to your application status/need to resubmit.

  25. PO_repellant said

    Hi — Writeedit and others,

    I’ve been benefitting from this blog for many years now! I first stumbled upon it when trying to figure out whether my F32 was fundable (it was), and since then based on lots of advice here, I’ve had a K01 and R21 funded. In many instances, this has been more accessible than my mentors! Thank you!

    I now seek advice about how to engage my K01 PO. In short, he has never ever responded to me by email in any way. From the time when I simply wrote to welcome him to his new position (he assumed the job just shortly before I learned about the funding decision – 1.5 years ago), to when I was email to ask about a funding time line (1 year ago), to more recently when I have a budget question when I have emailed him 3 separate times when he has not acknowledged or responded.

    My sole interaction with him was at a NIH booth at a national conference, when I introduced myself, and briefly told him what we were doing within the K01 project. He appeared supportive and enthusiastic, and told me to email him and discuss the specifics of the question. I have emailed him twice since (the emails were a month apart)…again no response. Not even automated emails indicating vacation or acknowledgements that email was received.

    So now, I am at a loss of how to approach my PO. Do I keep sending emails into the void of cyberspace? Do I cold call him (I have tried once, left a message, and no response)? Or should I start engaging the supervising PO (if there is such a position)?

    I do not want to upset him as I know I will have to work with him for many years to come, but this is the least responsive of any PO that I’ve ever interacted with at any agency…

    Your advice is much appreciated.


  26. AMP said


    My R21 missed the payline by one point at NIAID (payline at 28 now). The PO says that it is on the list for potential payment with end of year funds. But cannot guarantee funding and we should know in the next few weeks which applications will be funded. I am hesitating whether to submit a new application for this coming cycle on June 15th. Any suggestions? Thank you!!

    • writedit said

      You should absolutely submit your application. If your current R21 is picked up for funding, you can administratively withdraw the June 15th application. If your R21 is not funded, you don’t lose a cycle.

  27. AD said

    Hi Writedit,
    My NIA R21 (AD related) was reviewed in October 2016 and January 2017 council (percentile 19; pay line 28 for 2017). JIT has been showing since October but did not receive any request for the JIT documents.
    My status since January has been “Council Review Completed”, but changed to “Pending Administrative Review” on 6/2/17.
    I have not received anything from GMS or PO. Should I work on the JIT documents before someone contacts me, or should I wait to hear something?
    Thank you!

    • writedit said

      That is unusual for your status to change before JIT is requested (and no request soon after). You should check with your PO (or GMS) as to whether you should submit JIT now. I assume you proactively, based on your score, took care of any approvals needed (IACUC, IRB, etc.), such that you can send the JIT straight away.

      • AD said

        Thank you for the reply.
        My IACUC has not been approved yet but is under process because I was not within the initial pay line and the pay line changed mid of May and I am now within the pay line. The PO was not responsive. As suggested by my mentors, I did turn in my IACUC last week that is under review.
        This morning I received an official JIT request with the documents due by Monday. I am not sure how this is going to work because my IACUC is still pending.
        Any thoughts?
        Thank you!

      • Lili said

        Hi AD, congrats on your award! I had a situation where the IACUC was only approved after the NOA. In the letter of award (September 30) there was a note saying that I had to provide an approved IACUC before Dec 1 or else the contract would be terminated. Naturally I sent the IACUC approval like mid-october and it was fine.

      • writedit said

        As Lili noted, either your NoA or the actual release of funds will be delayed until you have IACUC approval. In Lili’s case, the IC had no choice but to issue a NOA (to get it in before the next FY started on Oct 1), whereas they may just delay your NOA. You should send the rest of the JIT with the IACUC review date (estimate if not known). This will allow them to process the rest of the JIT and prepare the award, though no funds can be released until the regulatory approval is submitted.

  28. AD said

    Hi Lili,
    Thank you for calming my nerves (have my fingers crossed). I will keep the blog posted on what happens.
    Thanks again!

  29. YK said

    Hi, I just got priority score 28 for an R21 at NIAID. The payline is 28 for R21s….anybody could chime in if this might be paid? it was a resubmission and the score improved from 42. I so much need this grant to be funded……

    • writedit said

      Payline is up to and including 28, so you’re good, assuming there are no administrative issues (be sure to get any IRB, IACUC, or other regulatory approvals you might need).

  30. YJ said

    Hi writedit, My R01 application to NIGMS was scored 17/6%. My current ADC is slightly over $500K, and for this r01 application I proposed $250 ADC. If this R01 is being considered for funding, is the NIGMS well-funded lab policy (>$750K)?
    Per NIGMS site, “Prior to considering awards to investigators whose total research support from all sources, including the pending award, exceeds $750,000 (annual direct costs), special analysis and justification should be required”.

    In fact, large portion of my current funding (200K) is one-year grant, which will be completed in 2018 summer. Also, I am expecting NIGMS standard budget cut of the R01 application, so it may not exceed >$750K total, but
    I am just worried if this is considered under a well-funded laboratory at the Council meeting. Your advice will be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks!

    • writedit said

      You can talk with your PO, but you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Council takes your individual situation into consideration, including the one-year award, when reviewing applications bumping against the $750K ceiling. Your PO can let you know if you can/should prepare a brief justification for consideration at Council.

      • YJ said

        Thanks for your response! In fact, I received another r21 scored well (NCI, 6%). Both R01 and R21 will be at this fall Council though these will be treated at different institution. Do you think if this R21 will influence the funding decision of the R01 because of the $750 ceiling?

      • writedit said

        I don’t think the NIGMS policy is limited to NIGMS awards, so your R21 might be considered as part of Council’s consideration of your situation. If the awards are all for different projects (different areas/disciplines), then you are more likely to be granted an exception, especially since the R21 is just 2 years. However, with the ICs needing to support the new NGRI policies and a big question mark with regard to the FY18 budget, Council might be more strict. When it gets closer to the meeting date (and we have an inkling, hopefully, of the budget situation), you can check with your PO.

  31. Frank said

    Hi writedit,

    I had one K award and this award ended already. Now i want to submit a R01 grant based on this K award. Is it Okay for me to use some paragraphs in my K award? More specifically, i want to use some paragraphs from my own K award for one sub aim of one aim of my new R01 grant proposal (there are 3 aims and 6 sub-aims in total).



    • writedit said

      You can recycle the text as long as the work has not already been completed as part of your K project. However, even if you did not do the proposed work, I would hope that you would have enough new knowledge from your K project to, at the very least, update the aim itself (including rationale and anticipated findings) and the wording of the text.

  32. Bing Lu said

    Hi, I submitted my R01 in Feb 2017, got a good score in June 2017, 10 percentile (2017 payline 13 percentile). But the council meeting will be in Oct 2017. Can my grant use 2017 payline, or 2018 payline? Thanks.


    • writedit said

      Your grant will fall under the FY18 payline, which will not be known for many months – probably not until next year (calendar year 2018), though hopefully sooner than that – and with a better budget than was proposed by the White House. Depending on the IC, a 10th percentile should be safe – or one would hope.

      • Bing Lu said

        Thanks a lot. But I am just wondering, so FY2017 just funds the applications submitted in Oct 2016? If so 2017 money should have a lot left. Is that right? I am confused why FY2017 does fund 2017 applications.

        Thanks again.

      • writedit said

        The NIH cannot carry any funds over from one FY to the next – they have to spend everything they receive (like the ARRA spending frenzy about 8 years ago). Due to the lag time between submission, peer review, and Council review, applications submitted in one calendar year (eg, Feb, June, & Oct cycles in 2017) are awarded under the next FY (eg, FY18). Special FOAs (RFAs, RFPs) can have applications and awards in the same calendar/FY year, but these are the exceptions. Theoretically, the first cycle applications (~Feb) should receive awards in December of the same year, but due to federal budget delays, this is rare now.

  33. ABD said

    Hi WritedIt,

    I submitted an NHLBI K99 award in February 2016 and received a 35 (payline 32). The status has said “Council Review Completed” since October 2016 but this morning it changed to “Pending.” My PO had mentioned that it would be re-reviewed for select pay probably in June. Does this status change simply mean they are re-reviewing or perhaps is this more hopeful of a change? Thank you!

    • writedit said

      This is good news – they have conducted a programmatic review of your application for select pay and have begun an administrative review, which is likely to result in an award, assuming no regulatory or budgetary issues arise. You can check in with your PO for an update and to ask if he/she needs anything else from you.

      • ABD said

        Thanks for the response! How often would you say it’s ok to check in with your PO? I haven’t heard a response in over a week and don’t want to send a follow up if that’s too persistent.

      • writedit said

        I’d suggest you check back after July 5 if your status hasn’t changed, maybe even not until the following Monday (they will get in touch if they have a question or concern). ICs only received their appropriation in late May or early June, so they are still catching up on scores of applications from the first two funding cycles. If you check some of the timelines posted by prior commenters, you can see the “Pending” status can last from weeks to months (the latter won’t occur in your case, though – you’ve already waited your months).

      • ABD said

        Hello again,

        You were absolutely correct! Received my NOA this morning. As you can see below my journey was a bit longer than usual, so my advice would be to not get discouraged. Thanks for continuing to provide such a helpful resource.

        07/31/2017 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
        06/21/2017 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
        10/27/2016 Council review completed.
        06/13/2016 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.
        02/22/2016 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
        02/11/2016 Application entered into system

      • writedit said

        Woohoo! Congratulations on the award (finally) and persevering! Thank you so much for sharing your experience all along the way as a great example of not getting discouraged (sorry you had to endure ~18 months of waiting to provide this example, though). Best wishes for success with your project and your career in biomedical research!

  34. JRM said

    I would really thank the people here for the very helpful discusuions. Just had a quick question. Lately I see that the Award Document Number appers in the eRA commons site. I was wondering if this number is always there or it appers just before a NOA is about to come? Thanks

  35. VV said

    Hi WritedIt,

    I submitted an NIDDK K25 award and just received a 45 impact score. I would like to know what the paylines are for the NIDDK K25 awards are since I could not find it online. Any help would be highly appreciated!


    • writedit said

      NIDDK does not usually post a lot of paylines, but 45 is a bit high. When you receive your summary statement, you can check with your PO about next steps, including how best to respond to reviewers in your resubmission.

  36. fringe_funds said

    I’ve just been funded by the R15 program. I’d like to obtain supplemental funds to replacing aging equipment. Are there any examples of such applications? Thanks!

    • writedit said

      If you mean an administrative supplement, then you should talk with your PO. These supplements do not go for peer review but instead are discussed internally. You don’t need an example so much as insight into what information the IC will want to have available as part of their discussions. These are just 6-page narratives, you would essentially explain why the equipment is needed to complete the funded research. Now, the IC may wonder why you proposed doing the work if you didn’t have the equipment (or didn’t request it in your original budget), so this is again a conversation you should have with your PO to be sure you are asking in a way the IC will honor your request.

  37. R01_Waiting said

    I have a well scored R01 application (6th%) that has been in limbo (council met in Oct 2016), and several weeks ago the status in Commons changed from “council review completed” to “pending administrative review.” I received a formal request for JIT docs, which I subsequently sent in, and when I connected with my PO, she said they were trying to fund it, but nothing is final until NoA is sent. On 7/3, I noticed in Commons the status has now moved back to “council review completed” which has me a bit anxious. Is that typical?

    • writedit said

      Hmm. It is hard to believe a 6th percentile application reviewed in 2016 for FY17 has not been funded at all, much less that it is in limbo, unless there are regulatory or budget issues. Unfortunately, the switch from pending back to “Council review completed” is not especially good news. It doesn’t mean that it won’t go back to “administrative review”, but you should check with your PO to find out if there was a problem in your JIT. If they think you are getting too much funding for this line of work, they might take you out of consideration. If that is the case (well-funded PI and/or overlapping funding) and you can make a case for this award, it would be good to do this sooner than later.

    • PA said

      I’m in the same position- R01 was scored at 5th percentile in review session from June 2016, council approved in September 2016, and no word about funding yet. Has anyone received an NOA recently?

      • writedit said

        If this is truly June (SRG) and September (Council) 2016, your application should be moving forward for processing, and I am surprised it has not as yet. You should definitely check with your PO for an update. I assume you submitted JIT materials already (if not, then definitely contact the PO) and that no problems were flagged (regulatory, overlapping funding, etc.).

  38. looking for funding said

    How easy is it to get a minority supplement for a URM student in the lab? Is it competitive and based on the student’s grades from undergrad? I am a relatively new PI, and I haven’t graduated any PhD students yet. There is a URM student I want to take, but probably won’t have money for after the first year unless she gets a fellowship. People tell me that I can just get a minority supplement, but I have no experience with this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • AA said

      Don’t know if you’ve sen this already, but I found it extremely helpful. It doesn’t answer your question exactly, but part of the answer is that it depends what mechanism you are using. http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/11/18/grant-supplements-and-diversity-efforts/

    • writedit said

      Talk with your PO about what you intend to propose. As long as your award qualifies (has enough time left) and your PO concurs with your broad plan, you should be in good shape, since these are discussed internally (vs going to peer review). You can have more than one supplement if you have more than one URM interested (or say a high school or undergrad URM interested for a summer or a postdoc in need of support until they can get an F32 or K in).

  39. YJ said

    Hi writedit,
    I received JIT request from NIGMS for my R01 application. In fact, I also received a CTSI intramural funding recently, designed for supporting pilot research (e.g. generating preliminary data, 50K only for one year) for acquiring subsequent long-term extramural funding (e.g. NIH R01). Hence, there is some scientific overlap between this pilot grant and specific aim 2 of the R01 proposal.
    I discussed with my institutional administrative team about this issue, and their suggestion was to justify this overlap by stating that “This pilot research support will be used to accomplish Aim2 despite the shortfall in NIH funding due to standard budget cut (expecting 24% standard budget cut)”. However, I feel like that this justification is not strong enough, so what I am thinking is to end the intramural funding early in case of the r01 funded (before the start date of the R01).
    “This is an intramular pilot research funding program, designed for generating preliminary data of the pending R01 application. If the pending application is awarded, this pilot research funding will be terminated immediately”
    What do you think?

    • writedit said

      Did you already receive the entire $50K (and just not spent it yet), or is it being paid out monthly? If the pilot award generated preliminary data for your R01, submitted last fall (I assume), then it should be running out soon in any case – and your R01 PO already knows you have the pilot funding (would have been listed in your application). Your CTSA will also have to report back to NCATS about your pilot funding progress (NCATS will be happy about the R01), so you want to be sure they are happy with how the $ was used, too. You could use whatever of the $50K you haven’t spent yet to extend/collect more data for Aim 2 (ie, more samples, additional data from each sample, analyze data in additional ways, etc.) – hard to give examples without knowing if this is clinical or bench or computational or what, but essentially, extend the work in Aim 2 in some way vs simply help fund what was proposed in the R01. You can ask your R01 PO about this approach (vs use pilot $ to make up for R01 shortfall in Aim 2 work); if you are ESI, then you may not have a significant budget cut (a 24% cut is not “standard” across the NIH in any case, once the federal government has moved from a CR to final budget). The NIH likes to see its funding leveraged, so you don’t need to decline the rest of the $50K but instead put it to good use in meeting/expanding the peer-reviewed goals of the science. What you should not worry about is any impact of the pilot funding on receiving your R01 – this decision is independent of what happens with the pilot $. NIGMS just wants to be sure you are not receiving duplicate funding to do the exact same work (ie, using one award to pay for Aim 2 and pocketing $ from either NCATS or NIGMS). You don’t need to say you will terminate the intramural funding because you think it endangers your R01.

      • YJ said

        Thanks your suggestion! Suggestion of using the money to get more data for Aim 2 will be appropriate.. In fact, I have just received an award letter of the pilot grant and no money has been spent so far. I am not an ESI, have multiple NIH fundings (one R01, two R21), so I am expecting significant budget cut..

      • writedit said

        Aha. I thought you were saying that you had actually used the pilot $ to generate preliminary data for this R01. That should still be okay (extending Aim 2 of R01), but now you should probably check with your CTSI, too, since they may need approval from NCATS for the $ to be used in that manner (extending/expanding Aim 2 of R01 vs generating preliminary data). If there is any additional work related to the R01 but in a new direction (so still more in the vein of generating preliminary data, but leveraging the R01 to launch a new tangent), that might be another option … but NCATS may be fine with just extending the work on Aim 2 (still probably a better strategy than saying you’ll use NCATS $ to make up for anticipated budget shortfall in NIGMS award).

  40. Resubmission Novice said

    Writedit – I would your appreciate your insight on this situation. I resubmitted a renewal and my application was scored (likely not fundable). I expected the resubmission would score better than it did since I addressed all reviewer comments and had additional preliminary data. Regardless, I received a call from the SRO after my score was posted stating that I forgot to include a progress report section in the research strategy portion of the application. I did include that section in the first renewal. Apparently I misinterpreted the instructions and didn’t think I was suppose to include a progress report when resubmitting the renewal. I’m embarrassed – what a mistake. I guess the lack of a progress report wouldn’t have been caught ahead of review by NIH? Also, since my grant was scored can I assume that my scored was negatively impacted because I included only a preliminary data section and not a progress report describing work done on the specific aims of my previous award. Really appreciate your thoughts. Sincerely. Thanks.

    • writedit said

      It’s interesting that the SRO contacted you after your score was posted, since I’m not sure what the point of that would be – whereas I am surprised that he/she did not contact you at the time your application was being assigned for review – if nothing else to confirm that you intended to leave out the progress report and, if not, did you want to withdraw your application and resubmit (since this was your last chance to renew your R01 or whatever the mechanism is – your next submission will be a Type 1 A0 starting from scratch). Since you only say the score is “likely not fundable”, then you should certainly contact your PO, explain your omission, and offer to send him/her your progress report along with any rebuttal that might be necessary once you receive your summary statement (if reviewers had concerns other than the missing progress report, which did not allow them to fully assess your progress made). And, if this is the first renewal of your first R01 or if you are within 10 years of your first R01 or if this is your sole support, then also ask your PO if the NGRI policy (https://grants.nih.gov/ngri.htm) applies to you.

  41. rodger said

    Just received NOA from NHGRI for my R01. I used modular budget and got no budget cut. I am a new investigator but not an early stage investigator. Impact score 25, percentile 8.

    Effect Date Status Message
    07/19/2017 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
    03/13/2017 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
    02/07/2017 Council review completed.
    10/06/2016 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.
    10/06/2016 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.
    06/20/2016 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
    06/06/2016 Application entered into system

    • writedit said

      Congratulations and thank you so much for posting your timeline. The delay between pending administrative review and award prepared will hopefully be reassuring to many who have been anxiously waiting to hear about their applications. Best wishes for success with your research!

  42. Eliud said

    Dear writedit,
    During the last month my status at eRA commons went from “Council Review Complete”, to “Pending”, and now (07-25-17) is “Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist”. This is a SC2 SCORE (NIGMS). Do you think a NOA is underway? Approx date?

    • writedit said

      Yes – congratulations! You should have a notice soon (this week or next). Unless you have a specific question, there is no need to contact your GMS or PO (except to thank them). Best wishes for success with your research!

      • Eliud said

        Alright, thanks. Will do. And thank you for your posts, very useful.

    • deep said

      Every case is different but I have never seen Award prepared not pan out eventually, in a week or 10 days at the most.

  43. notanewbie said

    Thought I would also share some info. The below is for an R34 to NHLBI that was reviewed by a SEP.

    Effect Date Status Message
    07/27/2017 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
    06/14/2017 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
    06/08/2017 Council review completed.
    03/20/2017 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.
    10/20/2016 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
    10/17/2016 Application entered into system

    • writedit said

      Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing your timeline. Some viewing this site might be interested in your impact score as well, since few R34s are posted here. Best wishes for success in planning the trial and moving forward with your multi-site study.

      • notanewbie said

        Thank you, and also thank you for the invaluable service you provide in maintaining this site.

        Impact score was 34. Based on past experience, I did not really expect that to be good enough to be funded, but am grateful that it was.

        Any idea/sources of how often a funded R34 leads to a funded R01?

      • writedit said

        The R34 is an underutilized mechanism and one the ICs like PIs to use to avoid starting big trials that founder two years in. I know of an R01 multisite trial that scored competitively but was converted to R34 to cover the planning period before the trial started. ICs rarely fund the R34 if they do not intend to fund the R01 trial. However, if you cannot pull off the planning phase (cooperation among sites on IRB, SOPs, operations manual, etc.) or discover that the sample size will not be feasible to enroll (for whatever reason), then they would likely recommend that you not apply for the R01 – but you would find that out before you made the effort. The fact that they might have reached to fund your 34 probably means they like the trial concept underlying the planning phase – I assume your PO has been supportive.

  44. FinalYrESI said

    I want to thank writedit for this wonderful blog. After struggling for 2.5 years, I am sharing the timeline for a recently funded R01 (ESI status).

    07/26/2017 NoA, NIGMS
    07/20/2017 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
    05/31/2017 Council review completed.
    04/15/2017 JIT sent
    03/30/2017 JIT request
    02/11/2017 Scientific Review Group review completed. 15 % tile
    11/08/2016 Scientific Review Group review pending
    11/01/2016 A1 resubmission. Application entered into system

    • writedit said

      Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing your timeline – and your tale of perseverance. Best wishes for success with your research.

  45. NSI said

    Hi Writedit, I submitted a new R01 in Feb 2017 as a new investigator and got a score in the grey zone in June. Have talked with the PO and was notified that it is hard to tell due to the unclear FY2018 budget. He suggested a resubmission in Nov. Recently, I got a JIT email from NIH to request Other Support to be sent to eRA Commons and also the PO in two days. Since this request is before the council meeting (September), I am wondering whether this is normal and whether this indicates that I have a chance to be funded? Sincerely, Thank you!

    • writedit said

      I can’t tell if you mean the PO sent a request for JIT or if eRA Commons sent a request. If it came generically from the NIH, it is the automated request that everyone receives. You can ignore the automated request, but you could check with the PO to be sure, if you have any question as to whether he wants it now. Even if it is a real JIT request, no matter what, you would not receive an award until the end of 2017 or more likely 2018, especially if there is a problem getting the budget passed due to debt ceiling and tax reform negotiations, so the timing of the request before Council does not suggest anything about the likelihood or timing of funding.

      • NSI said

        Thanks! Actually, the request comes from the PO’s assistant. She wants the update in eRA Commons and also the copies to her and PO. So, I am kindly confused. Sincerely, Thank you very much for your response!

      • writedit said

        This is good news – not an automated request, so they are working to get you on the paylist (for the IC Director to consider funding – not all applications on the paylist receive awards). And it is not unusual for them to request JIT before Council meets, especially if your application is on the list they plan to send to Council for electronic approval en bloc in advance of the meeting. You should continue with the November application preparation, though, since nothing is guaranteed, and you may not know for several months still (so your PO does not want you to miss a cycle waiting).

  46. question said

    Our NIDDK R01 scored a 4 percentile as an ESI. We received a pre-award letter in July, but as yet remain to receive a Notice of Award. We requested the award start 8/1. I understand this can take a while… but is this common?

    • writedit said

      This year, it is not surprising, since NIDDK (and the rest of the NIH) has been scrambling to make most of their awards (for the entire FY) starting in mid-July, due to the budget delays. Your start date is not an expiration date, and you will definitely have your Notice before the end of the FY – hopefully before the end of August. If you need to start spending now, you can set up an account for pre-award spending since you are within 90 days of award.

  47. NewPI said

    When does council meet for PARs at NIA?

    • writedit said

      There is only one Council meeting, and NACA next meets on Sept 26-27. However, assuming you are on the paylist that went to Council for approval (your PO can tell you this), and unless you have a clearly competitive score, you still won’t know about funding until after the federal budget passes, which probably won’t be for some time still. If you want to gauge when your PO might have news, watch for when the President signs an omnibus spending bill into law (though actual spending activity by ICs is typically delayed another 4-6 weeks after this).

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