NIH Paylines & Resources

I update this page as ICs revise their funding strategies. I’ve also included links to “cleared concepts” (i.e., potential funding initiatives approved by the IC’s Advisory Council for future development into PAs or RFAs) and to IC program contacts (program officers). Those ICs that traditionally do not publish payline or percentile guidance are indicated by “no payline data available” (& none probably ever will be). You can find details on the scoring procedure and interpretation as well as reviewer guidelines by mechanism.
Last updated: 11 July 2019

NIH Institutes & Centers
(descending order of budget, percentiles for established/new PIs)

NCI: FY19: 8th percentile for R01s (14th percentile for ESI only), 7th percentile for R21s (applications at higher percentiles considered on a case-by-case basis to fill gaps & address high priority needs, with special consideration to new/ESI applications); priority score of 25 for R03s & R15 likely funded (higher scores may be selected for funding on a case-by-case basis)
NCI cleared concepts
NCI program contacts

NIAID: FY19: 14th/18th percentile for established/new-ESI R01s and impact score of 31 for R21 & R03; 22 for R15; 34 for R41/R42, 34 for R43/R44; 20 for Ks except K99; 20 for F30, 19 for F31 & 24 for F32; 19 for T32/T35

NIAID cleared concepts
NIAID program contacts
NIAID Paylines (historic data by year and mechanism)

NHLBI: FY18 : 15th/25th percentile for established/ESI PI R01, 39th percentile for F31, F32, F33; impact score of 30 for R15, 20 for F30, 32 for Ks, 29 for R43; Zone of Consideration impact scores of 10-30 for P01; 10-35 T32, T35, & R44; 10-40 for R41/R42
Translating NIH Peer Review Changes into Funding Policies
NHLBI cleared concepts (click on most recent Council minutes, see proposed initiatives)
NHLBI program contacts
New Investigator Policy Change: “The applications from New investigators (NI) who do not qualify as early stage investigators (ESI) are no longer considered for special funding as of FY 2010. This policy continues into FY2011.”
Duration of RPGs: “Beginning in FY 2014, it is anticipated that NHLBI policy will be to fund investigator-initiated R01 competing applications, regardless of percentile or priority score, for a period of 4 years [see policy for exceptions … [therefore] researchers are encouraged to submit for review only applications with a project period of 4 years or less.”

NIGMS: No specific payline – explanation of how funding decisions are made by Program Staff and Council
NIGMS cleared concepts (click on most recent Council minutes)
NIGMS program contacts

NIDDK: FY18: 13th percentile for established and new investigators (8th percentile for annual DC of $500K or more), 13th/18th percentile for new/ESI applicants, 16th percentile for first renewal of ESI R01s
NIDDK cleared concepts (click on most recent Council minutes)
NIDDK program contacts

NINDS: FY18: up to the 15th percentile for research project grants, case-by-case up to the 25th percentile for ESI
NINDS cleared concepts
(click on most recent Council minutes)
NINDS program contacts

NIMH: FY18: about three-quarters of the applications under the 20th percentile, many ESI/NI applications up to the 25th percentile
NIMH cleared concepts
NIMH program contacts

NICHD: FY19: no payline for R01, R03, R21, or R13/U13; impact score of 30 for R15, 20 for R24/R25, 33 for R41/R42 (30 for Phase II SBIR), 20 for R43/R44, 30 for F30, 28 for Ks (33 for K99); 28th percentile for F31 parent applications, 30th for F31 diversity & F32

NICHD cleared concepts
NICHD program contacts

NIA: FY19: up to 15th (28th AD) percentile for RPGs below $500K, with new investigator applications considered up to the 18th (31st AD) percentile and ESI to the 20th (33rd AD) percentile; R01s above $500K at the 12th (25th AD)percentile, with new investigator applications considered up to the 15th (28th AD) percentile and ESI up to the 17th (30th AD) percentile; impact score of 20 (38 AD) for P01 and other NIA-reviewed research; up to 40 for multiple ADRD program announcements; up to 21 and 28 for regular and AD-related career development awards

NIA program contacts and priorities (click through most relevant division)

NIDA: Fiscal policy but no paylines
NIDA program contacts (click on relevant Division)
NIDA cleared concepts (click on latest Council minutes)
Funding priorities & policies

NIEHS: Fiscal policy but no paylines
NIEHS cleared concepts (click on latest Council minutes)
NIEHS program contacts

NEI: Fiscal policy but no paylines
NEI cleared concepts (click on latest Council minutes)
NEI program contacts

NCATS: Fiscal policy but no paylines

NCATS cleared concepts (click on latest Council minutes)
NCATS program contacts

NIAMS: FY19: 10th/22nd percentile for established/ESI PI R01, 10th percentile for R21, 20th (website says 2.0 … but I think this must be 20th) percentile for R15, 12th percentile for F30 (FY17), 20th percentile for F31/F32/F33; priority score of 22 for R03 (FY18), 22 for K01/K08/K25, 20 (FY18) for K99, 21 for K23/K24, 24/21 for SBIR/STTR (FY17), 20 for T32

NIAMS cleared concepts (click on latest Council minutes)
NIAMS program contacts (click on relevant scientific area)

NHGRI: Fiscal policy but no paylines (funding priorities listed)
NHGRI cleared concepts (click on most recent meeting agenda & documents)
NHGRI program contacts (click on relevant program)

NIAAA: Fiscal policy but no paylines
NIAAA cleared concepts (click on most recent Council minutes)
Training & Career Development Contacts
Division Contacts (check organizational chart as well)

NIDCD: Fiscal policy but no paylines
NIDCD cleared concepts
NIDCD program contacts

NIDCR: Fiscal policy but no paylines
NIDCR cleared concepts
NIDCR program contacts

NLM: FY19: For experienced investigators, applications with scores 23 or better are the most likely to be funded. For Early Stage Investigators and New Investigators seeking their first R01 research grant, applications with scores of 30 or better will be considered for funding. For career transition awards and fellowships, applications with Impacts scores of 25 or better will be considered for funding.
NLM cleared concepts
NLM program contacts

NIBIB: FY19: 19th percentile for established & 24th for ESI R01s; all other mechanisms are select pay, including the Expanded Opportunity Zone for R01s above the payline

NIBIB cleared concepts (click on most recent minutes)
NIBIB program contacts

NIMHD: Fiscal policy but no paylines

NINR: No updated paylines
NINR program contacts

NCCIH: Fiscal policy but no payline data
NCCAM cleared concepts
NCCIH program contacts

FIC: No payline data provided
FIC program contacts

Other Resources

NIH Advisory Council Meeting Dates (all ICs)
NIH Funding Strategies
NIH Paylines & Percentiles explained
NIH Success Rates
NIH Budget Allocation by Disease/Disorder
IC Strategic Plans (priorities)
Einstein College of Medicine Paylines-Success Rates Page

Please note that because this page attracts so many comments (and becomes very slow to load/refresh as a result), I am moving comments by calendar year onto archived pages, which has the added benefit of making them searchable.



  1. writedit said

    The NIH is operating under a continuing resolution (CR), which means their funding levels are 90% of what was approved for FY17. The interim paylines are always very conservative until the final federal budget passes, which for FY18 will not likely happen before December. Assuming the FY18 federal budget keeps funding levels at or above FY17 levels (right now, the NIH is looking at a small increase in its budget, but that could change), the interim paylines will be adjusted upward, and these higher paylines will be retrospective to the beginning of the year. The impact of the NGRI is unclear, as each IC will manage the program however they see fit, but overall, paylines for ESI applicants will continue to be higher than those for established PIs across the NIH. The final ESI paylines won’t be known until the FY18 budget is signed into law, though (NGRI also based on appropriation levels).

    • Unclear about ESI said

      Thank you very much for the information.

  2. Jerry said

    Hi, is it appropriate to ask the SRO if my proposal fits in his study section?

    Thank you very much.

    • writedit said

      Yes, you can send an abstract and/or specific aims for his/her take on whether the SRG is appropriate. If you are trying to decide between two study sections, you can note this as well. Your PO should have good insight on SRG choice, too.


  3. Jerry said

    Thank you very much!

  4. R21_applicant said

    Thank you for having this blog — it gives a lot of great information!
    I have the following question:
    I have an R21 application which received a percentile of 19 in 2015. In 2015 this was not even close to the cut-off around 11 (NIA). The application has been administratively withdrawn by the funding agency beginning of July 2017. The pay-line has now been raised to 19 at NIA. I assume that my application will not be considered since it has been administratively removed. Did this happen to anybody that suddenly your application falls within the pay-line, but it has been administratively removed? Is there any chance that it will be re-considered for funding? Thank you for any response!

    • writedit said

      Applications are automatically administratively withdrawn after 2 years – it was not “suddenly” removed to prevent you from being funded. The FY17 payline was for applications submitted in that fiscal year. While it is possible for an IC to go back and fund a prior FY application, they are not required to retrospectively apply paylines to prior FY applications (paylines are calculated only to cover current FY application numbers). In two years, the field will have moved forward (one hopes), so an application written in 2014 would probably no longer be of programmatic interest in 2017, especially if you had not submitted updated applications in the meantime for the same science.

      • R21_applicant said

        Thank you for your response!

  5. Waitinginanticipation said

    Hi writedit,

    I recently received my R21 score for an application submitted to NCI. The impact score was 30; percentile was 12. Should I be optimistic for funding or should I start planning for a resubmission?

    Thank you

    • SaG said

      Your program Officer can answer that question with more confidence than anyone here.

  6. ihatewaiting said

    Any idea on when a payline for NIA 2018 will come out?

    • writedit said

      Not until after the federal budget is signed into law (at least the final payline won’t be known until after that), which probably won’t happen before December. If you need advice before then, ask your PO whether you should resubmit in the meantime.

  7. DragonJD said

    Hello Writedit,
    I will submit my R01 competing renewal this Nov. A question comes up for budgeting. If not going for a modular budget, does NIGMS limits the amount requested to a certain percentage above the current year’s award?
    Thanks for the helpful inputs. I learned a lot here.

    • writedit said

      I know NCI and NIAID cap the renewal budget, but I do not believe NIGMS does – but you should certainly check with your PO to be sure. If you are requesting a significant increase in budget due to a major change in scope, you may also want to talk with your PO about whether this should go in as a new vs renewal application.

      • DragonJD said

        Thanks much, Writedit. I will contact the PO or a specialist from NIH to confirm.

    • SaG said

      Ask for what you need but don’t be greedy. Keep in mind that the average NIGMS R01 renewal grant size in DC is ~$250,000. ( If you are below that you can probably ask for more. If you are above that ask for a very modest increase. If you want to ask for a big bump you should have a strong scientific justification. And just wanting to increase the size of your lab is not a good justification. You probably need to go for a second grant instead.

      • DragonJD said

        Great. And, yes, will probably ask for a modest increase.

  8. Optimist said

    Hello Writedit,
    My R01 renewal went to study section in June (8%ile, woo-hoo!). Council met last week, but my status still indicates “Pending Council Review.” Is this just the system being slow?
    Thank you.

    • writedit said

      Did you check your IC’s website to be sure the actual Advisory Council meeting date is the date listed in eRA Commons? (not always the case) If the IC website indicates that Council did indeed meet, then it probably is just bureaucracy moving slowly, but you can confirm with your PO and also ask (assuming you are not at NCI) if your award might be made under the CR or if you’ll have to wait for the final federal budget for FY18. Probably the latter, but you can always ask.

      • Optimist said

        The date listed in eRA Commons is the one that is wrong (indicates a 2016 date!), but the IC’s council did indeed meet last week.
        I will check with my PO as you suggest, thank you!

  9. Zdravka Medarova said

    I have a question about Multi-PI grants. I am a Multi-PI together with another investigator from my institution. The other PI is the Contact PI. I just saw that we got a score of 19, 2%. The grant was reviewed this week. The other PI is leaving the institution. What happens to the budget. Can the other PI just take the entire grant with them. Is the grant awarded to the other institution since by the time Council meets, the other PI will have moved. Thank you

    • SaG said

      Technically the grant “belongs” to the institution. They have to agree to relinquish it. Professional courtesy usually lets a PI take grants with them when they leave. I suggest you do not do anything until you get the award. Then worry about transferring the grant to the new school. It is a messy/complex situation but not unusual. FYI, the Total amount of the grant won’t change. So if the indirect costs are higher at the new school the extra money will come out of direct costs. And Vice Versa.

      • pjparker said

        Thank you…But what happens when the contact PI leaves and the multi-PI stays at the institution. How are the funds split up. And who is contact PI- the one that was named contact in the application or the one that stays with the institution.

      • writedit said

        Your share of the award should stay the same. How much the other PI can take with him/her depends on how much of the work can be done at the new institution (ie, if the current institution or new institution is worse, as good, or better for conducting the work proposed). All this (including who is contact PI) will get worked out during the award negotiations as part of JIT, assuming the other PI has moved before JIT is requested and the award terms are prepared.

      • SaG said

        It depends on what you work out with the other PI. It could move with him and you get a subcontract or you become the contact PI and it stays at your school (the easiest). The contact PI has to be at the institution that receives the grant. How you divide the money could be tricky but again that is up to you two to decide. What does your Multi-PI leadership plan say? If I was your Chair or Dean I might insist on keeping the grant since you are remaining.

  10. DrSam said

    Over the last year, I am hearing that reviewers are also being asked to comment on the “premise” of the aims in a proposal. Not sure how different it is from what we had been writing previously under “rationale”, “justification”. Any pointers?

    • writedit said

      I believe the “premise” is a bit more than the significance of the scientific concept and rationale for pursuing the work in that it includes the scientific basis of your objectives and approach. That is, the work may be broadly significant (eg, we need a vaccine for XYZ), but the scientific articles on which you base your hypothesis and approach may not be optimal (eg, papers cited are outdated, not appropriate for your proposed approach, wrong/different animal model used, relevant papers left out, etc.), so the premise of your specific project is weakened. I believe the goal is to hold PIs accountable for really understanding whether the literature they are citing is appropriate and genuinely supportive of/progressing toward their proposed work (vs just in the same scientific ballpark). And actually, Mike Lauer specifically addresses premise: (preliminary data also considered in assessing premise). However, I too would be curious as to whether/how SRGs have been addressing premise in their discussions.

  11. Student123 said

    Got my F32 impact score back and it is 28. It was reviewed at Institute A where they don’t publish the paylines. PO said to contact them when I have the summary statement back. The secondary institute that it was assigned to has published paylines and it is within their funding range. I’ve also been reading on here that all institutes are cautious at funding applications, until the FY18 is established. So I’m thinking I will not know for a while? Beginning of next year? Should I be cautiously optimistic or move on with my postdoc?

    • writedit said

      During the Continuing Resolution, the NIH operates at 90% of the FY17 budget levels, and the ICs do not know how much they will get in FY18, so yes, they are all extremely cautious until the future funding situation looks clear. Your PO needs to see the reviewer comments to determine how the internal discussion will go about your application (fellowships do not go to Council). After you get your summary statement, your PO will be able to advise whether to submit again for insurance (if that is possible for you to do) and also whether, if it looks unlikely that his/her IC will fund your application, whether he/she will release it to the PO in IC B for consideration for funding (though none of this would happen until after FY18 budget is passed – all very hypothetical). Hopefully your PO, after seeing the summary statement, will tell you to sit tight until the FY18 appropriation reaches IC A.

      • Student123 said

        Thank you for the reply. What makes this even more complicated is that I’ve recently started at a different institution as a post-doc (different from the institution that I indicated in the F32). I’m itching to talk with my PO about it, but patiently waiting on my summary statement for that. Have you heard of anybody receiving F32 funds who proposed to do their research in a different institution? I know F’s are strongly tied to an institution, unlike K awards which might be more moveable.

      • writedit said

        I was about to say, as SaG just did, that you could only keep the F32 if the science is the same, since that is what the reviewers evaluated in the context of your old sponsor’s lab. Usually when a postdoc moves, the new sponsor’s projects are different (to varying degrees). The sponsor at your new institution would need to agree to let you conduct the project you submitted for your F32 – and be willing to provide the resources and expertise you will need to make it work. Usually when a postdoc moves, he/she prepares a new F32 with the new sponsor, so this really depends on whether the project stays the same and the PO is okay with the change in institutions (your old sponsor won’t get the award for a different postdoc, since you as a applicant were the focus of the fellowship, not the project itself). This will be the same for the secondary ICs as well – they can only award the fellowship if the science stays the same as what was reviewed, so if the primary IC PO turns down your application due to your move, the others likely will as well.

      • SaG said

        Same PI or new PI? They are strongly ties to the research more than the school.

      • Student123 said

        SaG, so I plan on working with a sponsor from the Institution that I left and add a new co-mentor from the new institution where I am at now.

      • SaG said

        Will the project/research be the same? I think you need to talk to a Program officer about this. You can’t change the application that was reviewed too much. If the science/proposed Aims stay exactly the same might be OK.

  12. SkinDoc said

    I submitted an R01 in June 2017. It was sent to NHLBI and CICS study section. CICS met last week and my application received an impact score of 31 and was in the 9th percentile. NHLBI posted FY 2017 paylines are 15% so I think I’m in a good position…but, since council does not meet until January 2018 and the grant would not begin until April 2018 at the earliest, will my grant fall under FY 2017 or FY 2018? NHLBI has not posted their 2018 paylines (probably due to lack of a federal budget).
    Should I be optimistic that my R01 will be funded? I’m a new investigator but not ESI (not sure that NI status does much for me).

    Thanks for the input. This is a great site with great information.

    • SaG said

      FY2018. According to the current House and Senate NIH Bills I would expect a similar payline in 2018 as 2017. Assuming no changes in NHLBI funding policies. Of course this begs the question of why skindoc isn’t applying to NIAMS……

      • SkinDoc said

        We’re investigating blood vessel-nerve interactions in hypertensives so it went to NHLBI and CICS…my other R01s have gone to NIAMS but haven’t had any luck there even getting scored.

    • writedit said

      As SaG said, this will be FY18, and you should be in good shape, even though there is no break for NI applicants – only ESI. The initial paylines will be very conservative, but by the time your application comes up for funding, the federal budget should be in place … and even if not, higher paylines later in the FY are retrospective to the prior cycles.

  13. Question said

    Is early investigator status noted or relevant for R21 and R03 grants? That is, do early investigators get a boost for R21/R03 grants, or just R01s? Thanks for your help.

    • writedit said

      There are no breaks during the review process or award decisions (eg, review & payline is the same for all applicants). Specific R03 PARs are limited to K awardees in certain ICs, so those R03s get special consideration, but otherwise, no. The goal is to get new investigators to put their time and energy into R01 applications, which do have review and payline breaks plus bigger budgets and the potential for renewal (and are hence the platform on which to establish an independent research career, not an R21 or R03).

  14. LNS said

    We submitted a “Revision Application” to supplement a current NCI-funded R01 to specifically address NCI’s provocative questions. I am unfamiliar with this mechanism. We received a 37 (no percentile). Normally, I would assume this is not fundable, but I have no frame of reference for this type of funding. Do you have any insight? Thank you!

    • SaG said

      It depends on where you ranked among the other apps reviewed. I would imagine that it also depends on the PQ you asked. If several other apps picked the same PQ and score better than you your odds of funding are probably low. If you were the only one to address a specific PQ Program might want to fund it. You will ask to ask your PO.

      • LNS said

        Ok, thank you!

  15. R01 vs foundation said

    We submitted an R01 (as an ESI), and shortened the application substantially and submitted it for a small foundation grant as well, hoping we’d get one at least. Ended up getting the foundation grant and the R01 scored 24 percentile, with prior year paylines at 25. We’d like to accept the foundation grant, even though it’s not a lot of money, since it starts much earlier than the R01 would get awarded (if it does). We’re wondering if accepting the foundation award will affect the chances of getting funded on the R01 given the overlapping aims and our borderline score, as we’d have to list it as awarded or pending on any future JIT request? And thanks for running this comment board. It’s been really helpful!

  16. writedit said

    You might ask the Foundation if they can be flexible and fund you to do a piece of the work not proposed in the R01 — something you would have liked to have done but couldn’t work it in the R01 budget or time frame. Most Foundations can be flexible in what they fund, since they are usually more focused on the concept and end goal vs specific science, whereas the NIH IC can only fund what was peer reviewed (so you can’t ask them to fund a new/different aim in place of what the Foundation covers). Alternatively, you could do preliminary work toward a shared aim in both proposals on the Foundation’s dime – and then if need be use these data to get the resubmitted R01, in case the 24th percentile isn’t funded (though you should be in good shape). Both the Foundation and the NIH should be happy to see you leverage each other’s support, so long as you are not getting paid twice for the same work. If the Foundation can’t be flexible, then you could accept their award to fund your first aim (or whatever their award would cover), and then your NIH award would be reduced by this amount, unless you can negotiate to do additional work (e.g., number of repetitions/replicates, larger sample, etc.) that falls under the science that was reviewed by the SRG. Hard to get specific, but you could start with the Foundation.

  17. Donald Perry said

    I am an established investigator and just received an impact score of 30 (11 percentile) for a new R01. The NIEHS (primary institute has a payline of 10 for 2017, could be the same in 2018. My grant is dual assigned to NCI and NHLBI. NCI (I heard may fund up to 12 percentile) and NHLBI funds up to 15 percentile. How likely is it that the NIEHS may fund (slightly above payline). If not, cam it get funded by NCI or NHLBI. Do you know how secondary institutes could pick up applications? Please advise

    • writedit said

      Paylines should be about the same or slightly better for FY18, depending on what happens in the months ahead. When you receive your summary statement, you can talk with your PO about the likelihood of NIEHS funding the application – either alone or in conjunction with a secondary IC. If the PO has any doubts, you can ask your PO about whether one of the secondary ICs could pick it up (NIEHS PO must relinquish it). If you know the PO at NCI and/or NHLBI, you can also contact them about picking it up (if NIEHS passes) – but first you need to talk with your NIEHS PO with your summary statement in hand. It is not typical for secondary ICs to pick up awards (since they have so many of their own they cannot fund), but it’s not unusual, especially if you have a relationship with a PO at NCI and/or NHLBI and they are interested in your science.

  18. chemchem said

    Dear writedit, I applied for the NIGMS R35 ESI MIRA this month and the status on the eRA commons changed to ‘pending IRG review’ today. Does this mean my application has passed the initial review for responsiveness to NIGMS’s mission?

    • writedit said

      Yes – your application has been assigned for review (first to IRG, then SRG), so you should see a date for the study section meeting eventually.

      • chemchem said

        Thank you!

  19. Ruthie said

    Does anyone know what the 2018 budget details as far as dollars to NIH and Alzheimer’s disease research?

    • writedit said

      The last draft in Congress included $400M for AD and about a $1.1B increase for the NIH overall. This is likely what will ultimately pass, but nothing is final until the President signs the budget into law.

      • Ruthie said

        Thank you!

  20. fearless said

    I applied for the NIMH R01 (A1) in March and received 15th percentile in June. I am an ESI. The AC meeting was in September. The PO called me this morning saying that my A1 proposal was unsuccessful. The PO offered R56 for two years instead. Please advise me.

    • writedit said

      The R56 is bridge funding to help you collect additional data toward the resubmission of the R01 (as a new application now). This will not affect your ESI status, and you can apply for the R01 at any time (in case you are running out of time). Assuming the amount of money he is offering will allow you to conduct some of the work proposed in the R01 (and/or collect preliminary data requested or that would address concerns raised by the reviewers), there isn’t a reason not to accept the R56 funding as a bridge to securing the full R01 award.

      • fearless said

        Thank you for your advice.

    • Charm3 said

      I got an R56 from my R01 application. I am also ESI. You should definitely accept it. It is 1 year plus 1 year renewal (so 2 years total). However, you should spend your money wisely since if your R01 resub is funded, they will cut 1 year (since they already gave your 1 year worth of funding).

      • fearless said

        Thank you very much for your suggestion.

    • Toco said

      I am curious about your case. How a ESI 15 percentile can not be funded. Did the PO told you the main reason. I would like to know that. Thanks

  21. Mrama said

    Hi writedit
    I have been a long time follower of your wonderful blog, it has helped me through successful a F32 and a K22. I just got my score for my first R01. It went to NIGMS, and received and impact score of 28, 12th percentile. I am a new investigator but not eligible for ESI. Can I feel cautiously optimistic?I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you!

    • writedit said

      Only your PO can tell you if you can feel cautiously optimistic (and only after you receive your summary statement), but that score is certainly in their funding zone, especially if the FY18 budget keeps the slight increase anticipated for the NIH. Your PO will know after reviewing the summary statement whether there might be any caveats affecting your funding likelihood.

      • RF said

        Hi. Writeedit
        Thanks for all the infor.
        Is K99 payline the same as other Ks?
        In nHLBI. ALL Ks payline is 32. For aK99 scored at 30. Is there any chance?

      • writedit said

        NHLBI does not indicate that their K payline is for all activity codes except K99, so I assume K99 applications fall under the 32 payline. When you receive your summary statement, you can check with your PO to be sure.

      • mrama said

        Thanks! I emailed my PO and he said it was competeive but would be able to discuss further after the summary statements are out.

      • Celtics said

        Is it possible to receive a new R01 award from NCI during continuing resolution (if R01 ranked 5 percentile and post-council review)?

      • SaG said

        Yes, In fact I have heard that awards are starting to be made. But, it will take awhile still before Notices of Award go out to PIs. Good luck!

  22. K99r00qs said

    Hi writedit,

    I have a k99, but am considering jobs at more teaching focused schools. These schools have no R01s, but have had R15s. Do you think it is possible to transfer the R00 phase there? I know this would be dependent on the startup package offered, but they do have the facilities I need to do the research I proposed.

    • writedit said

      The key would be the availability of facilities, equipment, animal models, etc. to do the work that was peer reviewed in your K99/R00. Your PO (and mentor) should be able to give good advice as you look at job possibilities and assess whether the institutions you are considering would be able to support your career in academic research.

  23. R01 said

    I am a new investigator and just received a 43 percentile (impact score 43) for my first R01 (A0 submission). The same grant was received a 21 percentile from a previous A1 submission. Please advice me if I need to go a re-submission this time or submit it again as a new grant.

    • writedit said

      You should check with the PO once you receive your summary statement, but if the 21st percentile application was not funded, the 43rd likely won’t be either (and at the 21st percentile, it is not likely the PO will go back to pick up the A1 unless it is of strong programmatic interest). Since your next submission will be the fourth submission of the same work, you might want to take a hard look at significantly updating the aims and approach and ensuring that you address concerns about significance (if possible) and common themes in the weaknesses cited across submissions. You can ask your PO what aspects of your research are of most programmatic interest and focus on strengthening this work – you should also check RePORTER for similar research being funded by your IC so you do not propose work that is already well-covered in their portfolio.

  24. R15 said

    Is ESI status considered in R15 application decisions?

    • writedit said

      No – ESI status is only formally considered for R01 applications (review, paylines).

  25. F-series question said

    Hi Writedit,

    I hear that there is a 3 year limit to Fseries grants, (i.e. if you have a 1 year F31, and even though you move to a different lab for a postdoc position with a new start, you still only qualify for 2 years on an F32). Is this true? I keep hearing mixed comments, so I wanted to ask you.

    • SaG said

      Not true. From the F32 Parent announcement…

      Individuals may receive up to 5 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the predoctoral level (up to 6 years for dual degree training, e.g., MD/PhD), and up to 3 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training grants (e.g., T32) and an individual fellowship award.

  26. Abraham said

    Dear write edit,

    I have a question of R01 proposal. I want to observe a phenomenon in clinical study. And I hope to explain the phenomenon using an animal study. Can I put a clinical study and an animal study (on different specific aims) in a single R01 grant proposal?

    Thank you!


    • writedit said

      Yes, this is common in either direction (animal first, to determine mechanism, then clinical pilot to observe whether mechanism documented in vivo is the same in humans, or as you suggest). If your budget creeps up too high (>$500K in any year), you will need PO permission in advance to submit (and a letter to this effect).

      • Abraham said

        Thank you so much!

  27. Kaden said

    I received a score of 40 on my K01 application through NIDDK. It certainly looks like out of the funding range, but I keep hearing from colleagues about funded K01s in the upper 30s, through the same mechanism. While I have to wait for my summary statement and plan my resubmission, I was wondering if anyone has more insight into how K01s scores roughly translate to funding in NIDDK. Thnkas!

    • writedit said

      40 is pretty high, but Ks do get funded into the 30s. With a 40, there should be an obvious weakness/concern that can be readily addressed – which sometimes a PO will let you do as a rebuttal to the summary statement for select pay, but if not, should make the resubmission strategy clear.

      • Kaden said

        Many thanks for the insight. I received my summary statement. The critiques’ individual scores look reasonably good (1 to 3) but the overall impact score is dramatically higher (40), possibly because in the study section concerns were raised by other members. The only major concern is my mentor being a junior faculty. Despite adding a senior co-mentor and advisory committee members to my application, this became the main weakness of my application. I will have to talk to the PO to figure out how to address this. I feel that this is one of those weaknesses that I have little control over!

      • writedit said

        Hmm. If it really is an issue with the junior status of your mentor, your PO should be able to help make the case that your team will help mentor the junior mentor (so a win-win for you both). It sounds like you did all the right things – I am never sure how reviewers expect more junior investigators to grow as mentors if they aren’t allowed to mentor K awardees (what, they’re okay to practice on grad students & postdocs for a while?), especially in the setting of team mentorship where everyone learns.

    • Trista said

      I submitted a K01 application (A0) to NIDDK last year, and received an impact score of 30. Although I was able to submit the response to weakness to the Program Officer before the council meeting, but at last my application was not discussed at the council meeting. I heard from the Program Officer that they fund up to impact score of 32, 33, if the applications falls into the priority category, which I guess my application was there.

      • Trista said

        Sorry, what I mean was my application was not in the priority category.

      • writedit said

        Your application would have been discussed internally at NIDDK, not at the Council meeting (Council only discusses applications with controversial reviews and a few other special instances). Council would have approved your application to be considered for funding, and then the NIDDK leadership needed to decide which applications to fund based both on score and programmatic interest. I am a little unclear as to what you are saying happened, but it sounds as though your application was not selected for special pay (above payline), which means you will need to submit an A1 application in March (or next July). If that is the case, you will want to work with your PO to be sure your amended application addresses NIDDK priorities in the manner of most interest to them, if you can make adjustments that improve how the NIDDK leadership views your proposal (your PO will know whether you can make any such adjustments). You have already addressed the reviewer critiques (for NIDDK) – you can also ask if the rebuttal you prepared for your PO can be used for the A1 application (PO also would have attended the study section meeting & heard the discussion of your application).

  28. lucien said

    Dear Writedit,

    I just received a score of 30 for an NLM EXPRESS RESEARCH R01 application. On the NLM website, it says, “applications with Impact scores 30 or better are the most likely to be considered for funding”. Assuming the 2018 funding situation is similar as 2017, how likely I will be considered for funding. Should I start preparing a re-submission?

    Many thanks!

  29. trying said

    Hi all,

    I just received a score on my first (but probably also last, given eligibility) K99 application and got an impact score of 20 through NIMH. As most of us here, Im trying to find something to hold on to, at least until the summary statements become available and I can talk to my PO. Since NIMH doesn’t seem to publish a payline, I was wondering if there is any statistics on how scores translate into funding available for previous years. I have seen the success rate charts the NIH puts out, but since we don’t receive a percentile I cannot use these.

    Many thanks for a great blog/community!

    • writedit said

      A 20 should be competitive, and the fact that this is your last chance for submission should be taken into consideration as well (as will any rebuttal to the summary statement that assures NIMH you can address any concerns raised). Fingers crossed that the summary statement and PO hold good news for you.

      • trying said

        Thank you writedit for your response! I will make sure to follow up here with whatever happens so others can include it in their estimation of chances too.

  30. Robert Visalli said

    I need some advice or comments. This scenario is unbelievable.

    Renewal application submitted 6/2015 received score of 25. Final pay lines not set until 8/2016 – not funded

    Resubmitted application as A1 2/2017 received score of 41. SRO calls prior to release of summary statements (7/2017) offering opportunity to withdraw and resubmit. Perhaps due to absence of progress report or ? – was never completely clarified. Something odd must have happened at that review. No summary statements will be issued if I chose to resubmit. I thought this a bit odd that the opportunity was offered after panel review but he assured me the review was considered incomplete without issuing a summary statement.

    Worked my butt off revised and submitted 10/2017. Application gets posted as an A2. That immediately worried me but since the same SRO was listed I figured it would get switched to A1 based on the conversation in July. NIH just withdrew my application because I cannot submit an A2. Of course I know that but this was supposed to be the A1 re-submission. They refuse to honor the advice given to me by I the SRO. App is dead.

    Considering prep time this went from 3/2015 through 11/2017 – over 2-1/2 year at one time scoring a 25 and missing funding by what I estimate as 1%.

    I wonder what options I have – appeals? legally? This is unbelievable …..and I’m completely exhausted.

    • writedit said

      Did the SRO back you up on your explanation that you had withdrawn it at his suggestion? I believe, strictly speaking, he was correct about the summary statement: this is why you cannot submit an A1 application before receiving the A0 summary statement (application is still considered under review until then). If no summary statement was added to your eRA Commons account, the application should not have been considered reviewed – but I am not sure if different rules are used to determine A1/A2 status (ie, panel completion is sufficient to trigger A1 designation). Did your status change to SRG review completed when the SRO pulled the application? What did your eRA status say? I would suggest talking with the SRO (if you have not) and your PO about the A1 and whether it can simply be converted to an A0 by removing the Introduction/response to the prior review – and submitting the same application as an A0 in Feb (if they won’t let you convert the A1 to an A0 for Oct submission).

      • SaG said

        You should demand to see the Summary Statement from the A1 review.. If they do produce it ask why it is so late. If they can’t, keep demanding it and asking what the problem is. You might cc: your PO too. This is very strange.

      • R15 In Reverse! said

        Update: This has been brutal and just completely unacceptable. Current feedback is “oh sorry the SRO made a mistake”. Now I’m sitting here with no grant submitted for review this cycle/fiscal year. I may have to go higher up the chain. I don’t even care about not getting the summary statement and critiques (although I will keep asking for them at this point). I followed the instructions given by the SRO and they threw him under the bus and offered no compromise.

      • SaG said

        Tell your PO you are considering an appeal to get a Special Emphasis Panel re-review of the A1 app.Council can force CSR to do this.So can the institute. Might be time to get your PO fully involved in solving this.

  31. john chandler said

    Wondering if anyone has experience with this – does a resubmission have to go to the same institute & study section? I will like to change both if it is allowed.

    • writedit said

      Strictly speaking, no – but another IC would need to agree to accept the A1 (you can’t just submit it without talking with a PO who is willing to accept it). With the SRG, again, you probably want to check with the SRO of the new SRG to be sure your science is appropriate. In your submission, you would need to justify the need for different expertise if it is not clear why the original SRG is not appropriate (otherwise, CSR might send it back to the original SRG). You might want to consider just an A0 to the new IC and SRG rather than trying an A1 based on the prior summary statement. Your current PO and PO in the new IC can give better advice based on your particular situation.

  32. P S said

    I have a question regarding the federal budget process and their impact on paylines, both interim and final. On Oct 5, NIAID set their interim FY2018 payline at 9th percentile (lower than 11th percentile last year). Would the budget that congress passed in late October have had any meaningful info that would impact this interim score, or interim scores that other institutes may be planning? Or do things remain in flux regardless of the budget congress passed until the president signs it into law? Thanks for this wonderful resource.

    • writedit said

      Congress only passed a budget framework – not the actual federal budget. The government is still operating under a continuing resolution (90% of FY17 levels) and will probably be extending the CR when it ends in December unless they can quickly deal with tax reform and the budget bill. Paylines should go up once the federal budget is passed and signed into law, at which point they will be used retroactively to fund applications in limbo due to the CR.

  33. Zhuoli Zhang said

    RO1 application was assigned to NCI and reviewed on Sep. 26-27, 2017. The proposal received a 13-percentile score. Is it possible to be funded in current application? PO asked to plan resubmission. How should i deal it with?

    • SaG said

      Listen to your PO. Resubmit. You need PO support to get a 13% funded at NCI and even then there is no guarantee.

      NCI Funding Policy for RPG Awards FY2017

      “Most Traditional (R01) applications with scores up to and including the 10th percentile and Exploratory Development (R21) applications with scores up to an including the 7th percentile will be funded without additional review.”

      • Zhuoli Zhang said

        thank you very much

  34. Andrew said

    My R01- A1 was recently reviewed and was awarded a percentile in the low 20’s (NCI is the IC). I am an ESI. There was difference in opinion during the discussion with 2 reviewers giving high-impact scores for significance/ innovation/ approach and one reviewer dissenting. Strong significance/ innovation was also recorded in the A0 and the resubmission improved the score by greater than 10 percentile points. I think my PO likes the project based on our post- A0 discussion but I have not spoken to them yet. I would be grateful for your feedback on what my options are. The dissenting reviewer’s critique did not expose a fatal flaw or anything- it seemed more due to myopic vision than anything else. As such, I am not sure it can be improved by resubmission (virtual A2) as it was of philosophical nature. I am within the NGRI bracket but then again, this is NCI. Would be grateful for your thoughts.

    • writedit said

      It sounds like you should be okay with the A1, especially if you can provide your PO with a response to not the dissenting reviewer’s critique in detail but whatever was highlighted in the summary of discussion (you could even send a 1-page response draft in advance of talking with him/her). The fact that you have been talking with your PO all along is great, as is the significant improvement in score – all of which NCI will take into account (plus your ESI status). Even if NCI does not reach the 25th percentile for NGRI, which is doubtful (but not impossible, depending on their FY18 appropriation), they will make exceptions for select pay, and your PO should be able to make a good case for you. Just be prepared with a response and any science updates when you next communicate with your PO.

      • Andrew said

        Thank you for the comments. BTW, what is happening with NGRI? Will there be official guidance for implementation? Will the whole thing be conditional upon the budget (they made it seem that it would not be). Have any ESI’s benefited in FY17? There were the bombastic announcements in June and August and then radio silence. Anything from the grapevine?

      • writedit said

        Not this grapevine … I talked with a PO visiting BICO about it a few months ago, and he said the details on implementation were still being worked out. Unlike something like the Public Access Policy, there won’t be an NIH-wide mandate, since each IC has the autonomy to implement the initiative as they see fit within the constraints of their appropriation. The idea will be to even out the proportion of ESI compared with established funded investigators rather than a single hard ESI payline across the NIH. As long as ICs meet their goals in that regard, whether they have a single higher payline or accomplish it through more select pay across a larger span of scores will likely be up to them. The ICs will shift funding from established to ESI, so it is a real initiative – but it will be, as they say, precision NGRI vs herd NGRI – and it probably will now wait until the NIH is sure their appropriation emerges from the chaos in DC intact.

  35. Bioinorganic Chemist said

    R15 in reversal, I had a ~20% R01 at NIGMS that was submitted in June 2016 that was being considered for funding until the very end; 2 JIT requests and lots of updates and convos with the PO, and a rebuttal request. It didn’t end up getting funded and we re-submitted a A1 in June 2017 that did not even get discussed.

    My take home is what has been echoed by others- its frustrating, but keep submitting. If put in 10 *PERFECT* grants, you should only expect 1 (maybe 2) to get funded. It’s the life we chose!

  36. lucien said

    Dear All,

    I just received a score of 30 for an NLM EXPRESS RESEARCH R01 application. Does anyone here have experience of this PAR (PAR-16-404 or previously PAR-13-300)? On the NLM website, it says, “applications with Impact scores 30 or better are the most likely to be considered for funding”. Assuming the 2018 funding situation is similar as 2017, how likely I will be considered for funding. Should I start preparing a re-submission?

    Many thanks!

    • writedit said

      When you receive your summary statement, talk with your PO at NLM about whether you should resubmit. If you are ESI, your case would be stronger, too. Program has a lot of say in what is funded, and your PO will want to see the summary statement first. Your PO might wait to make any judgment until the federal budget is a bit more clear, but hopefully we’ll have an idea of what the NIH appropriation might look like (right now, FY18 should be as good or better than FY17) closer to the CR deadline in December, which would still give you plenty of time to prepare a resubmission, if necessary.

      • lucien said

        Thanks so much, writedit! I will wait for my summary statement and then talk to my PO.

  37. Celtics said


    We recently received a score of 30 (no percentile) for an NCI’s provocative questions R01 application (A0). I am an ESI. Does this application still have a chance to get funded?


    • writedit said

      Yes, still a chance (since these awards are made on more than just score), but you won’t know how good of a chance until your summary statement arrives, at which point you can talk with the PO about next steps (rebuttal, resubmission for regular R01, etc.).

  38. AO said

    Sorry if this is a crude question, but would the proposed budget cut likely to affect NIH’s budget and attendant NIH paylines ?

    • writedit said

      Not a crude question at all – one we are always asking. At this point, everything is still up in the air. As of right now (on paper), Congress will increase the NIH appropriation slightly for FY18, but their ability to do so might hinge on what happens with health care and taxes (which requires pay-as-you-go cuts to discretionary spending). The continuing resolution set to expire on Dec 8th will almost certainly be extended to next February or March (with or without a government shutdown first), which means we won’t have much clarity for some time.

  39. Mika 6787 said

    with a 14% score RO1 at NCI, Summary is very very positive, PO looks like it? ! I emailed a brief responses of the comments to PO, PO replied will look opportunities, but suggested to prepare for resubmission. Any positive new I can expect……or forget about it?

    • writedit said

      It sounds like your PO will work on getting your application considered for funding (especially if you are ESI) but that you should resubmit for insurance, so you don’t risk not getting funding for a competitive application. The 14th percentile application could get funded while your resubmission is under consideration (or even after it is reviewed), so don’t assume this application is dead yet. Just be safe and get another proposal in for consideration next March.

      • Mika 6787 said

        Thank you very much for your answer! Very helpful. When we know NIH final decision: funded or not funded for this current 14th one

      • Mika 6787 said

        Dear writedit, one more question, when final decision will be made by NIH funded or not funded?

      • writedit said

        Your PO won’t know about your R01 until the FY18 federal budget is signed into law, which probably won’t happen until next year (which is why your PO does not want you to wait before getting a resubmission ready). More broadly, an application can be considered for funding for as long as it is administratively active, which I believe is 2-3 years after submission. However, essentially, an application will be considered until the end of the FY in which it is submitted (Sept 30) and only rarely in the next FY (eg, if the original application from the prior FY has a better score than the resubmission & the IC wants to fund it). So, you should know by late next summer (August) whether your 14th percentile will be funded, though probably sooner, depending on the timing of the FY18 budget passage.

  40. Andrew said

    Thank you for your previous helpful replies to my posts. Your time and effort on this blog are valuable to the community and the mission. I have another question: Although it is fairly clear how Study Sections work (for better or worse), it is very unclear to me how programmatic review works. Sorry if the question is naive but do they meet in a room? Do they “score” applications based on programmatic criteria? Is programmatic review a horizontal institute-wide affair (where one application competes with thematically unrelated applications at even footing) or is it organized in a compartmentalized fashion (i.e., a genomics app will compete with other genomics apps)? Importantly, are the chances of a particular application dependent on the “clout” of the designated PO- or is this a multi-level review? Thanks again

    • SaG said

      It varies quite dramatically depending on the Institute. For instance, NIAID funds few apps outside their paylines so there isn’t much wiggle room for programmatic review. NIAID funds certain areas of research via RFAs instead. NCI is similar though they get a bit more wiggle room for funding apps out of order based on things like portfolio balance (do we really need to fund another anti-cancer drug screening app?). NIGMS has more latitude and they consider things like how much money does the lab currently have(over $750k hard to get a new grant funded), is the PI an ESI, portfolio balance etc… Essentially, any factors besides scientific merit might lead to skipping a grant or reaching for it. Other Institutes might base it on other priorities, for example Alzheimers research at NIA.

      How it is done also varies a lot. At small Institutes it would be institute wide. At large ones it might be by branch or Division. Some might score some might rank in other ways..

      I think it is less PO clout (though the Director of an institute gets final say about which apps are funded or not. If Tony Fauci wants an unscored app funded he can do it.) and more how interested and willing a PO is willing to push to fund an app that is outside a payline. POs are human though so politics and clout likely play a role.

      NIH funds thousands of R01s each year. So, most of the funding decisions are automatic. Only the hopes of a small fraction depend on PO interest or politics.

    • writedit said

      In addition to SaG’s excellent response, I’ll point you to Jeremy Berg’s description of the process at NIGMS (you can also follow the link to learn more about what happens “at Council”):

  41. ZPI said

    Hi Writedit – I have an active Phase II SBIR from NCI. Is it possible to request more money from NCI (above and beyond what has already been awarded) – perhaps in the form of a supplemental award?

  42. alessaycy said

    Dear Writedit – I have received my score for the R01 application, and plan to resubmit in March. The problem is my co-investigator has left the institute. We have been working together for the past 2 years and published papers. My Aim 3 relies heavily on his expertise. He is now a scientific laboratory director in a big biotech company, but has told me several times that he still wants to work with me on this project and his company will also allow him to do so. At his new position, he actually has much better resource for the work that I want to do. My question: is it possible to keep him as a co-investigator on my grant even if he works for industry? If not, I will have to find a new collaborator…

    • SaG said

      The quick answer is sure. Working out the money division will take some work but companies can apply for NIH grants.

      Section III. Eligibility Information
      1. Eligible Applicants
      Eligible Organizations
      For-Profit Organizations

      Small Businesses
      For-Profit Organizations (Other than Small Businesses)

  43. Timothy Diggs said

    I am an established investigator. A new R01 of mine (NIEHS) (to be reviewed in January 2018 council) received a PS of 30 (15.0 percentile). The summary statement shows no major weaknesses and is considered excellent. There is no established payline for NIEHS, but it has been 10 percentile in recent years, and they do go outside the payline in some cases. My grant is dual assigned to NHLBI and NCI. NHLBI funds up to 15 percentile.

    I have not yet talked with my NIEHS PO.
    I have the privilege of continuous submission, so I can submit A1 until December 16.

    Should I ask the PO if they will be able to pick up my application. I know they will not give me any guarantees, but should I re-submit in December?

    How do dual assignments work. Since NHLBI funds up to 15.0, can I request that the grant be transferred to NHLBI so it becomes primary? Can it be done after IRG review and before council?

    Please advise.



    • writedit said

      You can ask your NIEHS PO, but you will probably want to resubmit for insurance no matter what (can be withdrawn if A0 is awarded). If your NIEHS PO is doubtful about funding, you can then also ask him/her about relinquishing to NHLBI. This would be most feasible if you have a relationship with a PO at NHLBI who is interested in your science and would be willing to accept your application (accepting secondary applications is selective and based on programmatic priority since every IC has more competitive primary applications than they can fund). However, you wouldn’t know any of this until after your submission window passes, which is why you want to ask your PO about resubmitting first.

  44. SBIR PI said

    Dear Writedit – We are considering submitting multiple Phase I SBIR applications to the same study section at NCI for the upcoming January 5th deadline. The applications aim to develop completely different technologies. Is this a ok or a bad idea to have multiple applications at the same study section?

    • writedit said

      The SRO will instruct reviewers to disregard your other applications, but the question would be whether it would be feasible for you to do all the work proposed (if all applications were funded). I am not sure what you mean by “multiple” (more than 3?), but it is not good to look like you are just throwing out a lot of ideas to see what sticks. I would recommend that you first talk with your PO about which ideas are most attractive to NCI. If they are all strong, independent proposals for distinct science of significant interest to NCI that can feasibly be conducted simultaneously, then you could go ahead, though you are probably better off saving one or more for the June submission date since there is no advantage to submitting in February vs June in terms of the timing of award decisions. The federal budget for FY19 will almost certainly not be completed until sometime in 2019, after the November elections, so very few awards will be made before then (ie, applications submitted in Feb and June will receive awards at around the same time).

      • SBIR PI said

        Hi Writedit – thank you for the response. The NIH SBIR dates are January, April and September and we are considering two submissions for the January 2018 (not FY19) deadline – does this change your opinion that it might not make sense to submit both simultaneously in January based on likely timing of the award?

      • writedit said

        Submitting in January 2018 will be for FY19 (not FY18) [UPDATE for future readers: this is only true for non-SBIR/STTR awards – the latter are funded in the same FY in which they are submitted]. If you are only submitting 2, you are probably okay, but you can still submit one in January and one in April and not have too much difference in funding timing. With the mid-term elections, I would expect the budget to get put off until the new Congress is seated (since the GOP can’t pass one when they control both houses), which would be Feb-March at the earliest – but probably even later if there is significant contention. In an optimistic scenario with the budget passing in late Feb, appropriations wouldn’t trickle down to individual ICs for another 6-8 weeks, which would put the money arriving in April-May, and then a backlog of awards … It’s up to you, though. If one would be strengthened by waiting, then wait … if both are ready, send them both in Jan.

    • SBIR PI said

      Thank you for the clarification. Would you please further clarify why the January 5 2018 SBIR submission would be considered FY19? Typically, we set our start dates 8 months from the submission date – so for a January 2018 SBIR submission to NIH, I would put the start date as September 5 2018.

      • writedit said

        This is my mistake – I am so sorry. I forgot that the Cycle II SBIR/STTR applications have a separate review cycle and are completed in the same FY as they are submitted. Technically, you could set your start date as July 5 for Cycle II.

        My advice about 1 vs 2 applications still holds though (you won’t get dinged, but only submit 2 if both are strong); NCAB meets in early Sept, so the timing could still be about the same (for Cycle II & III submissions), too.

        Aside from the review process and timing, your PO would give the best insight about IC priorities and willingness to fund 2 simultaneously (if both score competitively).

      • SBIR PI said

        Thanks very much!

  45. […] to the main blog in years, I continue to actively answer questions and encourage discussion at NIH Paylines & Resources (where I also update NIH paylines as they are posted), Discussion: NIH Scores-Paylines-Policy-Peer […]

  46. Question said

    Thank you for this valuable Web site.

    I was wondering how the brief rebuttal, provided to one’s PO before council, is actually used. Does it function in the same way as the 1-page introduction to a resubmitted proposal? Is it read by the council members before or at the council meeting? Does the PO use it to argue for the proposal at council? Any tips for making this rebuttal as strong and helpful as possible?

    • writedit said

      The PO does not talk at the Council meeting but advocates for applications in the gray zone after Council meets during internal (to the IC) meetings where paylists are discussed. Each PO will have a handful of applications that he or she thinks should be considered for select pay and explains why the proposed science is of special interest to the IC and how the concerns raised at peer review can be addressed in implementing the research approach. Each IC is different, but Jeremy Berg gave some insight as to what happens at NIGMS:

  47. Theresa said

    I have a question. I recently submitted a Health Disparities R21 into the incorrect package in ASSIST (the Health Disparities RO1 package). Is there a way that it could be referred to the correct FOA?

    • writedit said

      Hmm. I would suggest calling the eRA Help desk and your PO about changing this. I believe this can be adjusted by someone at the eRA Commons, but I do not have specific instructions.

  48. Yo said

    I have a question about the R00 phase of K99/R00. Can one active R00 only if he/she gets a US job or it could be a job anywhere in the world? Thank you very much!

    • writedit said

      No, you can confirm with your PO about a specific institution to be sure, but foreign organizations are not eligible for either phase of K99/R00 applications.

  49. eh said

    Hello, my K01 to NIMH was scored on October 31st. I have yet to receive the summary statements. My score was a 27 on the first submission. Any ideas on the range of typical scores that are funded at NIMH? Also, my impression was it was about 2 weeks for summary statements to come in. Is it worth following up with PO? Thanks so much!

    • writedit said

      I do not know NIMH’s funding range for K01s, but this would not be out of range for some ICs. You will need to wait for your summary statement before following up with the PO – which you absolutely want to do (both to learn about your chances of funding and strategy for resubmission, if needed, since your PO would likely have attended the SRG meeting at which your application was discussed). Summary statements can take up to 6-8 weeks to be released, depending on the SRO’s workload. There is no reason to panic or rush – you would be resubmitting in March if needed, and you should have your summary statement in time to talk with your PO in December, which would give you a couple of months to prepare an A1 application if needed.

  50. DenDritic said

    Thanks again for this valuable resource. I have a question with regard to “conflict of interest” as a basis to appeal peer-review outcomes. It is not clear to me how this could work post-review because of the risk that the reviewer looses their anonymity. If one invokes c-o-i with Dr. X on the review panel and PO/SRO/Council concur and accept the appeal, does that not expose Dr. X as the reviewer? Thank you in advance

    • writedit said

      I am not sure what you mean by “invoking” a COI as the basis of an appeal, nor do I understand the scenario you are trying to describe. First, a PI can only appeal a factual error in a summary statement on objective grounds (not perceived bias or subjective difference of opinion). The PI has no idea which reviewers were assigned to his/her application, so the PI cannot claim there was conflict of interest involved in the review (and certainly not as the basis for an appeal). If the PI (applicant) has a co-investigator on the panel, the PI can indicate this conflict in his/her cover letter, and/or that co-investigator can recuse him/herself from the review and discussion. Now, if you are suggesting a competitor is a co-investigator with Dr. X on the SRG and therefore Dr. X has a COI that led to a negative review – again, this is a stretch, since you can only point to a factual error sufficient to sway the opinion of the entire review panel enough to alter the score. Before you “invoke” any sort of appeal, you should discuss the matter with your PO, who, having the facts, will be able to advise you on what to do. If the PO readily recognizes an objective problem, the PO should take steps to address the situation, if possible, without an official appeal to Council to approve a second review of the application as submitted. Otherwise, if the appeal is accepted, what happens is the exact same application is re-reviewed (after Council approves of this re-review – a huge time delay with no new science submitted). There is no change of score until the next review cycle following Council, and the application could receive a worse score or not be discussed, at which point you are out of options accept to resubmit (after a year or so of delay – you cannot submit a revised application during the re-review process but must wait until after the appeal and second review of the original application).

  51. HY said

    Hi writedit, Thank you very much for such valuable information. I am an ESI, submitted an R03 in June and got 19% percentile and impact score 35 on Oct 27. Summary statement is released on Nov 17. I requested primary institute to be NIGMS, however it was assigned to the secondary institute NHGRI. I emailed my PO on Nov 7, and again on Nov 20, but did not hear back. What would you suggest me to do next? Thank you!

    • writedit said

      Don’t panic yet – the PO is getting lots of emails from lots of PIs who just got their scores. Yours is probably a little high to be competitive, so your PO is probably concentrating on those who need to take steps for an award, such as JIT (for cycle 1 applications). Next week, try one more email asking if you should resubmit, which I suspect is likely, and a good time to talk about resubmission strategy. You might get back a happy note that you could be in line for funding, but mainly, you will communicate to your PO that you understand your situation and are seeking his/her help moving forward.

  52. Stellar said

    Hello, I have heard rumblings that the NCI pay line during continuing resolution will be = or< 8% . Anyone else heard this? when do the council decisions "change" from the 10% current for established R01 to the "new" 2018 / CR pay lines?

    • writedit said

      All ICs must be extremely conservative during the CR since they are operating on 90% of their FY17 appropriation, so paylines are necessarily lower than FY17 levels, and do not know what the FY18 appropriation will look like, so do not want to risk posting a payline they may not be able to sustain. Congress was supporting a slight increase for the NIH, but that could change if the tax cut bill passes since they must pay for the cuts. Council does not set or change paylines – the IC Director does this based on the final appropriation received, the number of applications scoring in a given percentile or score range, and IC programmatic priorities (ie, setting aside more or less $ for special initiatives, select pay, etc.). The paylines will be set/changed when the FY18 budget passes (and will be retroactive to the beginning of the FY, so applications that don’t make the interim payline will be picked up later – including any ESI payline extensions).

  53. ScienceStuff said

    I am a fairly senior investigator whose competitive renewal just got triaged. While a minority of the comments pointed out reasonable issues of grantsmanship, many/most of the comments were just wrong with apparent lack of fundamental knowledge and clear lack of perspective/experience. Are there any potentially successful strategies to avoid repeat reviewers for the A1 that were seemingly very inexperienced and probably not qualified to review the initial submission? Or successful strategies for switching study sections? In my experience telling reviewers that they are wrong is not a successfully strategy for bringing them around to your side. Help!

    • SadScientist said

      ScienceStuff – this is a systemic problem. Inappropriate and inexperienced people reviewing grants – perhaps inexperienced staff running review panels? If there is a way to contact you I’d like to discuss because I am experiencing a similar situation – perhaps worse.

      • SaG said

        Since the vast majority of NIH reviewers have an NIH R01 grants inexperienced reviewers is unlikely to be a problem.

        I have seen instances where a grant was at an inappropriate study section. But these cases are rare. The impact of your proposed work should be clear to scientists outside your field. For example, your reviewer 3 might be the world’s expert in DNA repair. If your grant is about transcriptional pausing it is up to you to provide them the general context and convince them of the importance of your work. Don’t expect a panel to contain the same 20 folks who travel in your scientific meeting circuit.

    • writedit said

      You are absolutely correct not to appeal. Since this is a renewal, your PO will understand your concerns with the summary statement, so I would certainly recommend that you work with him/her on next steps. If this is the right study section for your science, then check to see how many regular vs temporary reviewers were on your panel (and consider whether the regular members would provide a more qualified review – if so, you can make this request of the SRO). If you are being reviewed by the same SRG that looked at your Type 1 application, your PO can comment on whether another study section might be better, since SRGs do change over the years (ie, the panel for your Type 2 application might have drifted in terms of interests and expertise from your Type 1 SRG). You can also use RePORTER to see what applications reviewed by this SRG are receiving awards to determine if your science matches these (especially Type 2 applications).

    • SaG said

      I would add that since study section rosters are public you should be checking the past few meetings to see who is on the panel and if they have the correct expertise. It is better to raise your concerns to the SRO (and cc: the PO) well before the meeting meets. But, do not expect a panel full of the same 20 people who attend the same circuit of scientific meetings you do. Also, focus on the criticisms in the summary of discussion. These were the issues that were actually discussed (unassuming a good summary statement) and the main drivers of your score.

      • SaG said

        Of course if your app was not discussed the last 2 sentences are not applicable. 😉

  54. maxT said

    Hi. Thanks for your great works. I have recently received a score of 10 in R21. What do you think is my chance to get it funded? This is my first proposal and I am nervous. Apology if the question is too silly.

    • maxT said

      Actually its 10th percentile. My mistake.

      • writedit said

        Not a silly question at all. A 10th percentile R21 would be a sure bet at some ICs but not others (eg, NCI, at least until FY18 budget is signed into law). You should be in good shape for an award, but you can check with your PO when you get your summary statement and ask both about funding likelihood (you could ask if he/she is cautiously optimistic) and whether you should resubmit (as insurance, in case the budget has an unexpected cut). Congrats on submitting such a competitive application your first time out!

      • Frank said

        Does R21 still get a percentile? That is interesting.

      • Frank said

        Does R21 still get a percentile? That is interesting. What is the impact score?

      • writedit said

        Some R21 applications receive a percentile – I assume it depends on the FOA and review group (a certain number of R21 applications need to be reviewed each cycle to have a sufficient N for the percentile calculation).

  55. Hello-I submitted a new R01 to NCI that was reviewed in June of 2017 and received a 9th percentile. I was told that the grant will be slated for awarding in January 2018. However, since we are still in CR and based on the comments you have posted on this site, is the payline going to be similar to 2017 (10th percentile) or is it going to be lower than 9th percentile?

    • writedit said

      Once we see how long the next CR is slated to last, you can ask your PO for an updated timeframe. It not impossible for NCI to fund your application under the CR, but it could be your PO had assumed, given that the GOP controlled both houses of Congress, that the federal budget would be passed by December 8th (in which case NCI would have started making awards in earnest by late January).

      • KK said

        Thanx for the quick reply. My main question has to do with the 2018 payline and if it is likely for NCI to have the same payline as 2017?

      • writedit said

        We won’t know for sure until the FY18 budget passes, but you should be in good shape with a 9th percentile application.

      • KK said

        Let’s hope so!

  56. imager said

    We got it from two sources now (one twitter and one through a colleague who talked with a PO) that NCI will drop from 10th percentile to 8th with no ESI bonus – any other confirmation of that anywhere…?!

    • writedit said

      That is likely during the CR, since the entire NIH is operating on 90% of their FY17 budget, with final paylines to be set once the FY18 budget is set … which won’t be until next year. Currently, the NCI in particular should do well with its FY18 appropriation, but Congress may look at discretionary spending again to pay for tax cuts, if the current bill passes.

      • Ruthie said

        Thanks for the great information! I was wondering if you had any information on how NIA, specifically Alzheimer’s, will do with its FY18 appropriation?

      • writedit said

        With the federal budget in limbo, no one will know the FY18 appropriation for NIA … if nothing changes in the draft bills, paylines will be the same or better, since funding is slated to increase, but we need to see what Congress does in December and beyond.

    • LK said

      Interesting. My PO indicated to me last week that the interim payline for ESI is 12%. Could you share a link to this twitter post?

  57. f31app84 said

    Applied to NIDA on an F31 got a 14 and am waiting for a funding determination. Was scored in July and then reviewed September. My PO is being very conservative even though it is in the very low percentiles 4th to be exact. I was told percentiles don’t matter for NIDA. Any word on when we can expect to hear something? I was told early December but our political climatte seems to worsen daily for getting the debt ceiling lifted. I don’t want to keep bothering my PO with these questions when they can’t really tell me anything yet. Now it seems like it could go out until the spring. Any word on whats going on behind the scenes. I am not too experienced with this sort of stuff but am nervous and anxious to see what is going to happen. Any advice would be awesome thank you!

  58. NCIF30 said

    Dear Writedit, first of all, thanks so much for the wonderful blog. It has been so helpful!
    I applied to NCI F30 in April and got scored (21st percentile) and reviewed in July. Right away, I contacted my PO, who told me that the funding range for the previous year was 28th percentile but that I would fall in FY2018 and would have to wait until the budget is passed in Congress. I haven’t heard anything since. I know that Congress is still working on the budget, but I am getting a bit nervous and impatient as it has been almost 8 months since I submitted my application… When should I expect to hear back about the funding decision? Is it normal for April submissions to wait this long to hear back? Can I be optimistic of my chances? Any advice?
    Thank you!!

    • writedit said

      If your PO did not advise that you resubmit, then you will probably be okay, but you may have to wait until the FY18 budget passes – which probably won’t be until next year. Unfortunately, this delay in making awards for Cycle I grant applications has been going on for well over a decade (maybe two by now?), since it has been that long since Congress had a new budget in place by October 1. I would have thought that with the GOP running both houses of Congress that the budget bill would have been done by December, but obviously there are a few distractions in DC, and the impact of the tax cut act, if they manage to agree on and pass a reconciled version, would need to be taken into consideration. So – if your PO did not advise you to resubmit, all you can do is wait.

      • NCIF30 said

        Thanks so much for your prompt response writedit!

  59. f31app84 said

    Applied to NIDA on an F31 got a 14 and am waiting for a funding determination. Was scored in July and then reviewed September. My PO is being very conservative even though it is in the very low percentiles 4th to be exact. I was told percentiles don’t matter for NIDA. Any word on when we can expect to hear something? I was told early December but our political climatte seems to worsen daily for getting the debt ceiling lifted. I don’t want to keep bothering my PO with these questions when they can’t really tell me anything yet. Now it seems like it could go out until the spring. Any word on whats going on behind the scenes. I am not too experienced with this sort of stuff but am nervous and anxious to see what is going to happen. Any advice would be awesome thank you!

  60. writedit said

    ICs can make awards under the CR, and it would seem that your score would fall in the range of receiving an award before the FY18 budget is passed (especially since the amount is so low – not a huge financial risk). December is usually the earliest that new awards are issued, and I see that NIDA has issued exactly one new and one competing renewal award thus far (both on Dec 1), so hopefully more will follow, including your F31. For now, you should be patient.

    If you have not heard anything by the end of December, and we still do not have an FY18 federal budget, you can get in touch with your PO in January to see if your application will be funded under the CR (he might know better then what applications are in line for processing and whether yours is under consideration).

    If the GOP has managed to pass a budget by then, if the NIH budget get its proposed increase or is the same as FY17, you should be fine (and just need to be patient – no need to contact PO); if the budget goes down, you should still be fine but will need to wait a couple of months for any funding action or seeking any reassurance from PO (NIDA won’t get their final appropriation for almost 2 months after the President signs the budget act – it’s not instantly known – and then there will be internal discussions about funding priorities & decisions).

    • SJ said

      Hi, Applied to NIA on a R01 based on RFA mechanism and received a 13% percentile score. I sent to my PO two emails asking for chance of being funded with this score, one in Nov 29 and one in Dec 7, but still did not hear back from him. In our earlier communications, my PO indicated the NIA FY18 payline won’t be available until the end of Dec or early of January. What should I do to follow up? I don’t want to bother PO with too many emails. But really want to know whether we have chance to be funded with this score or whether we should prepare for resubmission. My PO did indicate that our proposal is 100% coded as AD research. Thanks a lot.

      • writedit said

        You could ask simply if you should submit a new application (based on your RFA application) for the February receipt date, so you have back-up insurance if the 13th percentile application is not funded (though I would certainly hope it would be, especially for AD). If you would not be ready to submit in February, though, then there is no reason to ask of course. You can watch to see what is happening with the federal budget (CR now extended to Dec 23) – when the budget is signed into law, then it will take another 4-6 weeks before the individual ICs know their final appropriations and can begin considering paylines (so your PO won’t know immediately after the budget is passed, though he’ll have an idea of funding levels).

      • SJ said


      • SJ said

        Hi, Just check with my PO and asked whether we should resubmit our proposal for the March cycle. My PO suggested to prepare a resubmission at our earliest convenience. Our proposal is 13% percentile for AD research. Does this indicate we will not have chance to be considered for funding? I am in panic mode now. If we do resubmit and get a worse score (that happens all the time), will they consider my original score when the final budget approved and our score is within the payline? Thanks a lot.

      • writedit said

        Don’t panic! Your 13th percentile will still be considered for funding in the meantime … the recommendation to reapply at your earliest convenience is for insurance, since your PO cannot guarantee anything and does not want you to risk missing too many funding cycles. If your 13th percentile application receives an award, the resubmission will just be withdrawn … and yes, your 13th percentile can still be considered for an award even if your resubmission receives a worse score. Your PO said your earliest convenience since there is really no rush to get in for the March cycle … next year, the federal budget will be more MORE chaotic, due to the 2018 midterm elections (federal budget likely won’t pass until after new Congress is sworn in in Jan 2019). That means Feb/March and June/July applications will receive awards at about the same time (spring 2019), so there is no benefit to submitting in the early cycle (unless you need to for tenure, to maintain ESI status, etc.).

  61. PI Phase 2 SBIR said

    I just received a score of 30 for a Phase 2 SBIR grant. The current guideline is 10-30 zone of consideration for FY18. I am still waiting to here from the PO how to interpret this. I am curious what is the likelihood of not getting funded if you are in the consideration zone, especially when you are in the the bubble like me. Thanks!

    • writedit said

      It will mostly depend on the comments in your summary statement and how high a priority your work is for the IC. Your PO probably won’t know much until next January or so (and even then might not be able to say much until later in the FY), but you can ask whether you should resubmit while you wait to see what happens with funding decisions.

      • PI Phase 2 SBIR said

        Thanks! The grant is under a specific announcement(RFA) with an earmarked funding. I am not sure whether this makes a difference.

      • writedit said

        Yes – that means science will be as important as score (ie, IC will pick projects of most interest to them over a range of scores).

  62. Oreo said

    Hi Writeedit,

    Wanted to get your thoughts on Phase 2 SBIR. Our Phase 2 did not get discussed. The science was pretty much the same from Phase 1, which got an impact score of 21. We met all our phase 1 goals and had great data to back it up. So this came as a surprise.

    I noticed that our study group has changed between those 15 months between Phase 1 and Phase 2. Is it common for something like this to happen? We’re looking to resubmit. Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

    Happy holidays to the group!

    • writedit said

      Yes, SRG composition changes with each meeting. You can see the regular members and the years on which they will leave the study section in the main roster and check the flow of ad hoc reviewers from meeting to meeting (for prior meetings – you only get to see specific meeting rosters 30 days in advance of the review date). You can compare your current roster with your prior roster for differences to see if there were significant changes and talk with your PO about the current SRG membership. Your PO goes to meetings – yours wasn’t discussed, of course, but PO might be able to comment on whether current iteration of the panel would be receptive to seeing your application again or if you should try a different SRG (and which to try, if so).

  63. K applicant said

    Received a 20 on my K resubmission to NIMH. PO has said he is optimistic, but can offer little certainty until after the budget passes, of course. He mentioned that he would likely have more information after a November 30 meeting – any idea what that meeting might be? Council isn’t until January 2018. Would it be appropriate to check in or should I sit tight and wait to hear from him?

    • writedit said

      NIMH probably had an internal meeting to discuss applications under consideration, pending the budget, and/or determine what could be funded under the CR. If you haven’t already, you could ask your PO now whether you should start working on a resubmission for March (or February, if an A1 application scored the 20). If he tells you to sit tight and not reapply, you have your answer.

  64. Mika 6787 said

    NIH RO1, Specific Aims should be cited with references or not ? thanks

    • writedit said

      Up to you. If you need the space and will cite the same material in Significance or elsewhere, then you can focus on the story. If you are making a statement that requires a citation for credibility (whole story hinges on this work having been peer reviewed, or a series of key & perhaps not intuitively related discoveries), then that might be more important than references for accepted/known concepts/state of the science. Ditto if you want to convey your prior work has been published (to all those reviewers not assigned to read the entire proposal). Really a case-by-case judgment call on how you draft the narrative on that page.

  65. SBIR PI said

    Hi Writedit – do you know where I can find the CDC and FDA SBIR paylines? Also, where can I find what topics are of interest to FDA under the SBIR omnibus?

    • SaG said

      You can find all of the HHS topics (including CDC, FDA, NIH etc.) in this pdf.

      I am not sure FDA or CDC publish a payline for SBIRs. But, if anyone can find it W.E. can.

    • writedit said

      Looking at how few awards they issue (29 current awards listed in RePORTER for all of CDC & FDA combined), I am sure there is no payline but that awards made based on score & programmatic preferences. I would suggest you contact the appropriate individual(s) at the CDC (depending on which center/program best fits your work) and the FDA for information both on whether your science would be a priority (but look closely at past awards for clues, too) and how they select applications for funding. You can find the contacts both in the PDF that SaG helpfully cited (thank you!) and at

  66. uso said

    My application for R01 funding to NHLBI received a score of 11% in June 2017. I have submitted requested JIT information, and status on era commons has switched to “pending”. The grants management specialist told me that the NOA was set to be released on 12/12/2017 but I still have not heard anything. I don’t want to keep bugging them – would you happen to have any thoughts on why there might be a delay? Thanks so much for all of the information and guidance you provide

    • writedit said

      You can sit tight – nothing has gone wrong, other than bureaucracy during the holiday period, when everything takes a little longer (especially with all the FY18 federal budget chaos as well). Once the grants management folks have finished preparing the awards, they still need to be signed off on. If the GMS needed any more information from you, they would have gotten in touch directly. Just be patient a little longer – no need to be worried (and congratulations!).

  67. uso said

    thank you so much

  68. KK said

    Is there any information on the 2018 NCI payline yet? What is the payline that is currently being awarded while we are still on a CR? Thanx

    • writedit said

      The entire NIH is operating at 90% of their FY17 appropriation, but since no IC knows the outcome of the federal budget (ie, whether they will receive the appropriation they anticipate), they are very conservative in making awards just in case something unexpected occurs and they receive a cut rather than a slight increase in funding levels. At NCI, then, awards being made during the CR would be well below the 10th percentile and probably selected based on programmatic priority as well. During this period of federal budget uncertainty, rather than ask your PO if you will be funded, you could ask if you should prepare a resubmission (or new submission).

      • KK said

        Thanx for the answer. I sure hope the budget does get passed soon and with an increase so we could at least have the same payline as last year.

    • YJ said

      FYI, I recently received an NOA of my NCI R21 application with 13% budget cut. Mine was 6%.

      • writedit said

        Congratulations – you should get some of that cut back (maybe all, depending on whether it was all due to CR) once the budget passes.

      • R21_Hopeful said

        Congratulations @YJ. Were you at 7th percentile or better for an R21?

      • YJ said

        Thanks, Mine was 6th percentile. Per my recent discussion with the PO, current payline is 7the percentile for R21.

      • writedit said

        Thanks for sharing your intel with us. Again, congratulations, and best wishes for success with your research!

  69. Mika 6787 said

    @writedit, happy new year, I am working on the revised application for resubmission, question is how to mark the”track changes” Thanks

    • writedit said

      Happy new year to you, too – best wishes for a productive 2018 to everyone!

      You can change the font (e.g., Arial for changes, Georgia for unchanged text) or typeface (italic, underlined, bold) of the updated text, but this makes reading less pleasant for reviewers. Instead, you should simply note in the Introduction that changes have not been marked and summarize your changes/additions. Often this is a better strategy so as not to have reviewers focus on whether they like the changes vs whether they like the science overall. And in fact, current OER guidance says the same thing: “individual changes do not need to be identified within other application attachments (e.g., do not need to bold or italicize changes in Research Strategy)” (

  70. JW said

    Hi writedit, happy new year!

    I got an impact score of 25 for my revised K99 for NCI, checked with PO in November, and he told me “somewhat good chance”. No updates from him, any advice what I can do now? Is it proper to send another email to followup? Thanks!

    • writedit said

      Your PO won’t know about funding likelihood until the federal budget passes, which could be in a few weeks – or the CR could be continued again (timeline unknown). Without knowing NCI’s appropriation for FY18, he won’t have any new information for you. If your PO did not indicate whether you should prepare a new application (resubmission of your A1), assuming you are still eligible, then you might ask him if you should submit an application in February for insurance. If he says yes, that doesn’t mean the A1 won’t be funded but that he agrees you should not lose time waiting for Congress to pass a budget … if he says no, then you can feel more positive about getting an award (though no guarantees).


    Dear Writeedit,
    I am submitting a R21 that fits a specific PA that only NINR participates. The grant potentially could also be of interest to FIC and NEI. In this case, shall I submit the grant under the specific PA or better under the parent PA? For grants submitted to a specific PA, would non-participating ICs be considering them?

    Thank you very much, and Happy New Year!

    • writedit said

      Only NINR can be assigned to the PA specific to that institute (with no other participating ICs). I would suggest you talk with the PO at NINR for his/her advice.

      FIC is extremely limited in its budget and what it will fund and generally has FIC-specific FOAs (they do not participate in the parent R21 PA). You would definitely want to talk with a PO there to see if they would be interested in your work.

      NEI will also have specific priorities for what they will fund, so, again, I would suggest you check their FOAs (not parent, though they do participate) and communicate with a PO there.

      These are all ICs with small appropriations, so they will be more concerned with using their limited funding to address key programmatic priorities. Establishing a relationship with a PO who is interested in your science will be very beneficial, though.

      • XKong said

        Dear writedit, Thank you so much for the very helpful information!

  72. Dandan Xu said

    Thanks writedit for maintaining this blog, it’s been very helpful! We just got our NIGMS SBIR R44 / Phase II funded. I think we were incredibly fortunate and lucky. Here was our timeline:

    12/20/2017 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
    11/15/2017 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
    06/28/2017 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.
    04/13/2017 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
    04/05/2017 Application entered into system

    • R44 Score? said

      Dandan, can you share the score your received for your R44 proposal? We just got our score back for an R44 from NIGMS and are wondering how likely our funding chances are.

  73. Teco said

    Hi writedit,

    My A1 R01 got 12 percentile in NIMH. I am an ESI. My PO has requested the JIT and a formal response to reviewer’s comments. The PO also discussed with me and suggested to change a subaim. I had written a letter to address the concerns. Can I say this is positive? I asked if I should re-submit a new application in the Fed cycle. The PO replied, ” I hope to have a better idea by early next week”. Can not see if it is positive.

    In addition, my reviewer’s individual comments and scores seem not very supported, but the summary of statement indicated “overall the panel was enthusiastic for this project and its potential impact on the field.” I think this is why my score is good. If my case goes to the council meeting, will the council members question about the “alignment between the scores and the reviewer’s comments”? Thank you very much.

    • writedit said

      This is very positive. First, a 12th percentile ESI application should be in funding range (though you might need to wait for final budget & so have a delayed start). Also, the PO would not go to these lengths (seeking JIT & rebuttal, making suggestions on your aims & comments) if he did not think there was a reasonable chance you would receive an award. Plus, he put off a decision about resubmitting, another good sign – I am not sure if he was waiting for some internal word or the next update on the federal budget (probably another CR though). You can sit tight & feel positive until the PO can provide an update in a week or so – and even if he suggests that you prepare a resubmission, you can still receive an award (just that your PO does not want to take a chance with your career in terms of putting off resubmission in case something disastrous happened with the federal budget out of his control).

      With regard to the summary statement, the resume & summary of discussion is most important – the individual reviewers’ critiques may no longer be valid if the discussion resolved some of the concerns they raised (& the summary statement comments may not have been updated after study section met). Your PO would have been at the meeting and heard the discussion, too, which is why his suggestion to make specific changes is relevant. If he ignored certain individual reviewer comments, you can, too.

      Your score is such that Council will (and may have already) approve it electronically en bloc in advance of the actual meeting. There would be no need for Council to discuss your application, so no worries there.

      • Teco said

        Hi writedit, thank you very much for your answer. I will wait to see the updates.

  74. Mika 6787 said

    Dear Writdit,, for this specific RO1, submission dates are without Feb. cycle?

    • SaG said

      It isn’t uncommon for PARs to only have 1 or 2 submission dates per year. My guess it that they didn’t want these to go to the first Council of the Fiscal Year (October).

  75. J said

    Dear Writedit,

    Many thanks for your useful notes. I am a K99/R00 awardee. I just started a faculty position in January 1 and my R00 application was submitted in October and requested that the R00 phase of the grant can be activated in January 1, 2018 with my starting date.

    No NOA yet. Should I contact the PO or Wait?

    I spoke with my PO in November because of minor errors in the application and we fixed the problems.

    • writedit said

      I expect the delays are due to the delay in the federal budget, but if you haven’t checked in since November, you can certainly ask the PO or GMS for an update now. If you need to start spending money, you can additionally ask if it would be appropriate (ie, you are within 90 days of NOA) to start pre-spending (your institution would need to set up account).

      • J said

        Thank you very much

  76. NCE said

    Dear Writedit,

    I have a naive question on no-cost extension. Is R21 eligible for NCE? For the first request, do I need to prepare any justification for the request? Or it is automatically approved upon submitting the request on eRA Commons by the SO?


    • writedit said

      Yes, the R21 is eligible … no, you do not need to prepare a justification for the NIH. The link to exercise your extension (notifying your IC) will appear in eRA Commons 90 days before the project end date. You will need to tell your institution that you want to extend your award period one year, and your authorized signing official sends the electronic notification. Your university/institution will let you know what information they need prior to submitting the notification.

  77. SBIR PI said

    Hi Writedit – We are considering requesting a change in scope to our funded Phase II SBIR award from NCI. Can you refer me to any guidance on this or if anyone on the board can comment if they have direct experience? I am a bit nervous to request this change – is it possible they could pull our funding, etc?

    • SBIR PI said

      Just to clarify – I am wondering if I should be nervous about requesting a change in scope or is this common?

      • writedit said

        Are you requesting a change to save money (especially if due to budget cut), to accommodate an unplanned purchase, to change personnel (or accommodate a change in personnel), or to go in a new scientific direction? Requesting a change in scope is not a big deal, assuming you are not trying to do less work for the same amount of money. You’ll need good rationale and expectations for the change requested, but I am sure you have already thought this through. You can work this out with the GMS/GMO – though you might want to talk with your PO, if you feel like you want a little advice/guidance before you take this step. They want you to succeed, so don’t assume that admitting problems that need to be addressed (for example) will result in your award being cut.

      • SBIR PI said

        Hi Writedit – we are requesting a change in scope in the Aims. We are funded to conduct a study on humans, but recently found that additional work on the formulation is needed prior to going into humans.

      • writedit said

        This should be fine, especially if the need for additional work on the formulation was not evident and/or could not have been anticipated at the time of your application. Clearly you have no choice but to discuss the change in scope, since you won’t be able to accept funds for the human subjects portion of the work without IRB approval. The IC will want you to keep making progress toward your trial, though depending on your situation, they may need to restructure the award to provide the funding you need to get to the point where your product can move into clinical testing.

  78. KGS said

    Hi Writedit,
    I am writing to ask for feedback since I am a bit in a panic. I am a New investigator (not early stage investigator since graduated in 2006). My R01 resubmission to NIAMS was submitted April 2017. In June I got my summary statement and I scored in the 17th percentile. The 2017 New and Early stage Investigator paylines were paid through 20th percentile. I got positive feedback from the program officer. Since then the wait has been long. Today NIAMS posted Paylines for 2018 (partially at least). This time around they have posted that Early Stage Investigator Paylines to be paid through the 20th percentile but there is no mention of New Investigator. With the new policies relating to Early stage and Early Established investigator I am wondering if they will no longer consider extended paylines for New investigators. So have I been waiting for nothing? Any feedback or thoughts?

    • writedit said

      Your PO would have known about this upcoming change last year (ie, if NIAMS was going to drop new investigators from payline break), but you can certainly ask for confirmation – and whether you should resubmit (if you haven’t asked before … though a good PO would have recommended this if he/she had any doubts). If there is any question about which payline applies to you, hopefully your PO will argue for select pay so you don’t fall through the cracks during a policy change, especially when you were within a year of being eligible (for ESI) when you submitted your A1 application (and I assume your A0 was as an ESI). Don’t panic yet, but definitely touch base with your PO for clarification on where you stand.

      • R01 said

        Hi Writedit,
        Are you saying that it’s NIAMS’s new policy that there will be no New Investigator advantage any more?

      • writedit said

        I don’t know, which is why I recommended that KGS ask the PO for clarification. NIAMS does not say so explicitly anywhere (other ICs, such as NHLBI and NINDS have clear statements that they only offer a special payline for ESI, not new investigator), and the PO would have known last year of an impending change in whether new investigators received special consideration (and surely would have mentioned this to KGS). I can’t tell if NIAMS has just adjusted the wording to reflect the NIH’s emphasis on ESI applicants, or if they have dropped the new investigator special status.

      • KGS said

        Thank you for reply! I will keep you updated on how this plays out.

    • KGS said

      Spoke to PO today and as of now NIAMS have no plan for special payline for New investigators this year. Apparently my PO did not know and apologized for not recommending me to resubmit for October. Trying to get my ESI extended by at least 5 months so that I would be an ESI for the initial submissions (according to what I read that is what counts as long as your resubmission is within 13 months).

      • writedit said

        Aha – that is too bad, and shame on NIAMS for not making sure their POs knew about such an important pending change in funding policy. Hopefully your ESI extension will be approved, which would get you within the ESI payline plus link your resubmission with ESI status (though resubmission shouldn’t be necessary). I would hope that your PO would make an extra push for this given the incorrect advice last year (ie, your score should be fine for funding in the NI/ESI payline). Thanks for the update, and good luck moving forward.

    • KGS said

      Another update and information that might help others. After reading through all the FAQ about ESI I found out that the date for the degree should be the date the degree was conferred and not the date of defense. Which means my conferment was in October of 2006 which would make me eligible for ESI for the first application. Cross you fingers that I can get it updated.

      • writedit said

        Even better news. I assume you let your PO know, too.

      • KGS said

        Here is an update. I got eRA Commons updated to reflect ESI status for the initial submission in October 2016. This was done first by me updating my degree dates and then working with eRA Commons helpdesk. This was updated Monday. My PO had seen the update even before I emailed him. Yesterday my grant got updated to pending in the system. Lessons learned: Read all the detailed instructions and do not give up. Now there is just the wait for the next step but at least I dare to hope now! Thanks for this blog which helps and gives support.

      • writedit said

        Woohoo! I am so glad that you were able to spot the need to update your degree date and hence your ESI status and push your application from NI to ESI for funding consideration. Your status might be stuck at Pending (various permutations) for a while, since we remain under a CR for at least another month, but at least you can wait hopefully, especially after the administrative review.

      • KGS said

        Got my Notice of Award today!!! I also got start date of 4/1/2018 and not December 2017 that was the start date for the submission.
        Here is my timeline if interested
        Resubmission 4/7/2017
        Scientific review complete 6/5/2017
        Council review completed 9/7/2017
        Silence due to budget.
        Pending administrative review 2/9/2018
        JIT submitted 2/26/2018
        Award prepared 3/28/2018
        NOA Awarded 3/30/2018

        Thank you for a great blog that helps keeping one sane.

      • writedit said

        Woohoo – thank you so much for sharing your timeline! Congratulations and best wishes for success with your research.

  79. R01 said

    Hi Writedit,
    In the newly posted NIAMS FY 2018 Funding Plan, it says “Based on case-by-case review of grant applications by program directors, reductions from direct costs recommended will be approximately 12 percent.” Does this mean there will be a 12% cut for all funded applications? Thank you!

    • writedit said

      The budget for every application will be cut during the CR at least 10%, since the NIH is operating at 90% of the FY17 budget, so the average 12% cut sounds about right. When the federal budget is passed, some of these cuts should be restored – hopefully all, but that depends on what happens with the FY18 NIH appropriation when the dust settles.

      • R01 said

        Thank you so much!

  80. R01 said

    Dear Writedit,

    I learned a few days ago that my R01 was scored within the payline. Last night I received the JIT request. I had hoped that they asked me for a budget so I could change it a little bit. But they didn’t. Can I ask for a budget change? I mainly want to change a student to a postdoc.

    By the way, how would the government shutdown affect the award process?

    Thank you!

    • writedit said

      There will be no work on processing any award until the federal government reopens for business (the NIH is shut down, too, so no work except for intramural research involving animal or human subjects that cannot be suspended without risking welfare – and of course caring for animals regardless of research involvement). However, you won’t discuss budget until they actually start processing your award (well after JIT and Council meeting), which will not happen for a few months, if you were just scored. You can ignore the automatic request for JIT from eRA Commons, which does not reflect any intention to make an award. Your PO or GMS will send a request when they are ready to process your award (likely in May or June, depending on when your IC’s Council meets … and depending on what happens with the federal budget).

      • R01 said

        Thank you Writedit. I got the score (7%) back in October 2017, and received the JIT request from my GMS last night. The Council will meet on February 7. Do you mean I should contact my PO about the budget after submitting JIT (deadline January 31) and after the Council meeting is finished? Hopefully by that time the government has been reopened…

      • writedit said

        Aha – well, the JIT request came JIT before the shutdown. In any case, you would talk about the budget when they when they begin processing the award after completing the administrative review to confirm your application meets all regulatory and financial requirements (in terms of approvals in place and no duplicative funding etc.). You should let your sponsored programs office (at your university or institution) know that you want to make this change, too.

  81. R01 said

    Thank you!

  82. shutdown said

    Thank you for commenting on how the government shutdown will affect processing awards. How will it affect the submission of new applications (if at all)? For example, I have a new submission due in early February – if the shutdown lasts that long, would it affect the submission process at all?

    • Stellar said

      I am not sure but think that will continue to accept stuff. They’ll work it out. Continue your writing and pretend we have a functional country is my only advice. Don’t let dysfunction affect your progress… Onwards and good luck!

      Writedit, do you think the budget will end up cutting FY2018 from 2017 levels? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts… There’s not been discussion of NIH cuts but several other programs are getting a haircut

      • writedit said

        The NIH should be okay, though some of the increase Congress would like to make may need to be pared back … but there is bipartisan support for funding biomedical research, so I do not expect a major cut such as that proposed by the administration.

        See my note about the shutdown … essentially, everyone should sit tight until the lights come back on (if they go off).

    • writedit said

      I assume the same principles that were true in 2013 will be true again:

      That is, even if remains up, NIH eRA Commons will not, so no applications will be processed at the time of submission.

      No one at the NIH can respond to your email if the government remains shut down. That is, they are legally not allowed to respond, so please do not inundate them with queries about what to do. They would love to be able to reply but cannot.

      I expect OER will issue another notice if the shutdown continues, which I will post on the blog.

  83. 3rd times the charm... said

    On a related question – The due date for emailing supplementary materials directly to the SRO for me is Feb 7 (for SRG Mar 7-9). If the shutdown continues/recurs, would these dates change? I would suspect SRO’s inbox would be full?

    • writedit said

      If the shutdown continues that long, you could still email your materials by then, and if you get an extension and have a last-minute manuscript accepted or something, send that as well. And if you send everything by Feb 7 and get a mailbox full message, then just send it again when the lights go on again. I certainly hope the government is not shut down that long, though, so it probably won’t be an issue.

  84. Scientist on the farm said

    Dear Writedit,

    My R01 was reviewed last Oct. It was scored outside regular payline but within projected payline for ESI. My PO said it should be funded when I talked with him in last November. The council meeting will be next week (Feb-1st) but I haven’t received JIT request from the IC or my GMS. Is that normal? I am kind of in the panic mode but not sure if this is something I should bother my PO or GMS. Any advice please?

    Thank you.

    • writedit said

      Not to worry – the JIT does not always come before Council meeting, especially during a continuing resolution, when most awards are on hold while the NIH operates at 90% of the FY17 budget (only the very lowest/best scoring applications will receive competing awards for now). Keep an eye on the FY18 budget situation, which will tell you when your PO might have an update on timing. You might get a JIT before the FY18 budget passes, just so the administrative review is out of the way, but don’t panic if nothing happens soon after the Council meeting. What you could do in the meantime, if you have not asked specifically as yet, is confirm with your PO that you do not need to resubmit in March (or submit a new application in June, if this R01 is an A1). If he says to sit tight, then it is just a matter of waiting for a federal budget to be signed into law, so no need to be concerned about not receiving a JIT request.

      • Scientist on the farm said

        Thanks for your reply. I asked my PO last November whether I should resubmit and at that time he just said “you should be fine”. Because this is my first time dealing with a potential fundable R01, I just don’t know how “safe” it is when an application is scored within the ESI payline while outside the regular payline. From the outcome data published by NINDS (, there were some R01s scored within the payline but were not funded. There were no data indicating what happened to those R01s. I find the waiting for a NOA is even more unbearable than waiting for the score, because you always know the score will be posted soon after review.

      • writedit said

        Applications that score within the payline but do not receive awards are case-by-case instances. Depending on the IC, such applications could have been skipped due to a well-funded PI, duplicate funding to the PI for the same work (identified upon JIT review), IC programmatic priorities (ie, too much funding on that particular area & the need to invest in new areas), administrative or regulatory issues with an application, an application administratively withdrawn because a prior or subsequent application for the same research was funded, and other special cases.

        Now, your application probably won’t be processed for an award until after the FY18 budget passes, so you still have a ways to go (even after it is signed into law, your IC will not get their appropriation til 6-8 weeks later). After you send in your JIT (once the request comes), your status will change several times before the NOA arrives – possibly with long delays between status updates, so be prepared to do a lot more waiting.

    • SaG said

      Did you get a JIT request in your ERA commons account?

      • Scientist on the farm said

        I did not get the automatic JIT request because my impact score is not within 30. I am waiting for the JIT request from my GMS.

  85. StudentJ said

    I submitted an F32 in August 2017, which was scored competitively. It is focused on ADRD and it currently assigned to the NIA. The PO reached out to me in December saying that there is a chance that my F will be funded for the January council meeting. I know the NIA held an emergency council meeting last week. I reached to my PO and they said that Fs aren’t discussed at that meeting. And that they have a final funding meeting sometime soon and that everything seems to be OK at the moment. I wasn’t sure if I should take it as a good sign. I’m preparing documents for a JIT request, in case it comes through.

    • writedit said

      Fellowships are not reviewed at Council but are discussed and selected for funding internally at each IC, so this is all normal. If your PO is confident, you can relax and wait until they need information from you. If you need to get any approvals or certification of training, by all means take of these and whatever else might be needed for JIT and to process your fellowship. Otherwise, you don’t need to worry during any radio silence until your PO gets in touch.

  86. NI said

    Hi Writedit,
    My R01 to GMS scored at the 12th percentile. When I spoke to the PO after I received the summary statement, he said I could be optimistic (I am NI not ESI). I just saw that the status on era commons has changed to council review completed. Should I sit tight and wait or get in touch with my PO about my grants outcome?

    • writedit said

      Your PO’s comment is good news. The Council review completed status occurs for every application, so this is not informative. Eventually, your PO or GMS will send you a JIT request, but then you may need to wait some time for the application to actually be administratively reviewed and processed … the exact timing will depend on when we have an FY18 federal budget. In the meantime, there is no need to contact your PO – he will get in touch if/when he needs information from you. He probably won’t have updates until there is a budget in place.

  87. Hui said

    Hi Writedit,

    Thanks for all your postings and comments! They are very helpful!

    My K99 was reviewed by NIA last October with a score of 29. It belongs to ADRD. Soon after the release of summary statement, I called the PO, and he told me 29 was a reasonable score and asked me to submit a rebuttal before the council meeting. Today I emailed him again since the council meeting was completed last Friday. He said there is no update and cannot comment on a possibility of getting my K99 proposal funded. He also said the current (and this is preliminary) payline for K awards is established at 26. So do you think the payline will be increased/extended eventually? And if the FY18 federal budget arrives too late, like last year, will the payline be fixed for this round and my application will not be considered again? Thank you!

    • writedit said

      Your PO won’t have an update until the FY18 budget is signed into law, but when this happens, paylines will be revised based on the actual appropriations to each IC, and these upward (in all likelihood) changes will be applied retroactively to all applications submitted for FY18 (ie, including yours and any applications from the first and second cycles/Council meetings). Even if the payline does not move up to 29, your PO will have a better idea of whether you might be considered for select pay. In the meantime, I assume, if you are still eligible to apply, you have asked your PO whether you should resubmit. If not, you might want to ask whether you should submit an application in March or July (or June, if your 29 was an A1 application).

      • Hui said

        Writedit, Thank you so much for your explanation and suggestion! Unfortunately, I am not eligible to submit another K99. This A1 resubmission was my last chance. I asked my PO last Nov if I should submit other K applications, like K01. He said another K grant application under different mechanisms might cause confusion for reviewers, when the current K99 was not done yet. I will ask him again if the budget is still not available by the end of this CR. Thanks!

      • writedit said

        I understand his concern in this situation. You really need to have a faculty appointment to be a successful K01 applicant (or the promise of a faculty position, if the K01 is funded – but reviewers and ICs are not really supporting this route as much, if at all), but if you get a faculty appointment (or promise of one) to apply for a K01, that voids your K99, since you must complete at least 1 year as a postdoc. Most, if not all, ICs refuse to make the K99 award if the applicant has a faculty offer that has been delayed a year to accommodate the K99 portion of the award, since this arrangement suggests you do not need the extra year of mentored research training to secure a faculty position (ie, you have a job offer). At least one person on this forum has said that when they told the PO they were interviewing (no mention of an offer), the PO said the IC would not award the K99 (again, because if the K99 applicant felt he/she was ready/competitive to interview for a faculty appointment, he/she no longer needed a K99). This is why the PO does not want you thinking about a K01 while the K99 is under consideration. You will either need to wait to see what happens with the budget and hope your K99 is funded (which seems possible) later this year (you probably will not know for sure for a few months), or give up the K99 application to pursue a faculty position and K01 support.

      • Hui said

        Thanks a lot! It is now more clear to me regrading K01 vs K99. I probably would wait for another couple of months. Finger crossed for me and others in the same situation!

      • Hui Liu said

        Dear Writedit,

        Since the spending bill was signed into law last Friday, I asked my PO about the possibility of funding. As mentioned above, my K99 score is 29 (NIA, ADRD, A1), and the current payline is 26. He wrote back this morning, and said “It is much too early to tell if/by how much our funding lines will be adjusted. Even if there is a chance to “reach” 29, a prudent approach would be to think about a new application”. Shall I take it as a negative sign? In his previous emails, he didn’t suggest me to try other K awards. And according to your experience, how long does it take for NIA to adjust its payline? One month?

        Thank you so much!

      • writedit said

        The signing of the Omnibus spending bill is not like direct deposit. First, they need to clean up the bill (prepared in haste) and break it down for the executive agencies (in the NIH’s case, HHS). Once HHS has their appropriation in order, which will take a few weeks, they distribute appropriations to their constituent agencies, including any requirements for reporting, evaluation etc. that must be taken out of each agency’s appropriation. Once the NIH has the overall appropriation and any rules/requirements from HHS, they can distribute appropriations to the individual ICs, which is when ICs will learn exactly how much $ they have to spend in FY18. I think in general, allowing 6-8 weeks for the money to make its way to your IC is a good estimate of the delay involved.

        With regard to your application, last October, your score might have been in the lower third of scored applications received at NIA, but it could be that the final cycle added several applications with scores lower than yours, which might explain why your PO is a bit more cautious now – possibly also based on internal discussions of your application, if his colleagues weren’t as enthusiastic about your science (compared with other borderline applications).

        With regard to not recommending that you prepare a new K application, as I mentioned above, applying for any other K activity code would require a faculty appointment (to be competitive), but if you get a faculty appointment, your K99 is automatically dropped from consideration. This is why he did not encourage you to consider other Ks earlier (the bit about “confusion”). If your current postdoc position is secure, and if you can delay starting your job search until you hear about the K99, then you might want to hold off – especially if there is a chance your current university might offer you a faculty position; in that case (ie, if you are confident a faculty position will be offered), you should know about the K99 in time to prepare a K01 or other application for June (or definitely Oct, if you need to look for a position). You might want to talk with your mentor about this – he/she should understand the dilemma of needing to wait for a faculty appointment (or the promise of a faculty appointment) to apply for another K, which would then negate the K99 application (which you don’t want to give up on until you are sure it won’t be funded).

        You don’t need to feel bad about missing the February deadline, though – you haven’t lost any time – since the budget fiasco will be even worse next year, which means you would have learned about funding decisions at roughly the same time whether you applied in Feb or June.

      • Hui Liu said

        Thank you so much for such detailed explanation! You are always so helpful! As you said, I need to talk to my mentor about all the possibilities. Thanks!

      • Hui said

        Hi Writedit,

        I received a email this Friday afternoon from NIA regarding my A1 K99, which was submitted in July 2017 and scored 29 (payline is 28 in FY18). It was said that there will be a meeting in Nov discussing applications and tentative paylines for FY19. And I was asked to provide a brief response to the reviewers’ comments, which I already sent to the PO last Dec. The email was from a “health specialist” on behalf of the PO.

        I am a little confused here. I spoke to the PO over the phone two months ago, and he told me in mid Oct there would be a meeting discussing those application right below the payline in FY18. Then I emailed him last Mon (Oct 15), he replied on Oct 19 and said there was no update. When I asked if the meeting was completed and if my application would not be funded, his reply was “YES, it is outside of the currently established funding lines”. So I accepted this as a final decision. But just one week later the above email came.

        So I just guess that the meeting discussing applications right below the payline in FY18 was actually completed last week (before 10/19), and my K99 was not selected for fund with FY18 money. But since NIA already got the FY19 appropriation, my K99 was selected again for discussion, and might be funded with FY19 money. Is that true? The whole process lasts so long, so dramatic!

      • writedit said

        The “health specialist” is another member of the extramural staff (like the PO), so it seems your application is still under consideration … which they might be doing because it is your last chance (anyone else, they would tell just to reapply). If you have any new data, publications, presentations, etc., please do not hesitate to pass those along to your PO and this new health specialist contact. If you have new training opportunities as part of your K99 period, that would be good to note as well, so they recognize you still need more mentored training (ie, so much time has passed, they might wonder if you even need the K99 any more).

      • Hui said

        Thank you so much for your advice. I actually have several papers published since last July, but none of them is related to my K99 proposal. Do you think it is necessary to update this to the PO and the health specialist? If so, shall I mention this in the email and copy the link of my bibliography from NCBI ? I don’t think it is worth to upload an official update via the grant officer in the university.

      • writedit said

        Yes, this isn’t anything you would need to submit officially – just contacting the PO is fine. I’d suggest you contact the PO and Health Specialist (copied on same email) to see if they would like an updated NCBI bibliography in advance of the November meeting (in addition to the rebuttal requested by the Health Specialist). 

      • Hui said

        Sure. Thanks again for your help! You advice is always insightful and helpful!

  88. trying said

    I know it has been a while since this was posted (although, what is ‘a while’ in the context of obtaining NIH funding?), but I still wanted to say: this timeline is amazing, encouraging and incredibly helpful! Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope the R01 is running smoothly.

    • writedit said

      I agree – and I have to assume based on the grit & commitment demonstrated in the timeline, that they are making great discoveries with that R01 funding. I should really pull this out as its own post.

  89. Mika 6787 said

    I am preparing my RO1 to resubmit, for one page Introduction section, can I use smaller font, size 10 or 10.5, thanks

    • writedit said

      Nope. Applications go through a computer check for compliance with instructions, so your application would not be accepted for review.

  90. Dear Writedit,

    We had submitted a multi-PI RO1 to NCI in June 2017. It got scored 9%. Summary statement was also fine. I talked to PO back then and PO had all positive comments. However, today I got an email from PO that NCI pay line is set at 8% and they advise us to resubmit/revise. I talked with PO but looks like to see if this is an interim pay line and can change. PO said if pay line changes then of course it can get funded but currently no one knows anything. Could you please let me know if PO is trying to be cautious or in reality NCI payline is going to drop from 10 to 8%.

    Many Thanks for your help

    • writedit said

      I would say you have a cautious PO – mainly because the federal government is so unpredictable right now. I would certainly hope NCI is not back to an 8th percentile payline, and Congress usually protect NIH research funding (for most areas anyway), but, again, these are not normal times. Now, with the midterm elections this fall, any applications submitted in Feb/March will not be considered for funding until spring 2019 (FY19 federal budget almost certainly won’t be passed until after new Congress sworn in). This means it really doesn’t matter (in terms of NOA timing) if you wait until the July receipt date to resubmit – by which time you should (!) have a better idea of funding status for your 9th percentile application. Hopefully you won’t need to resubmit, and, with the upcoming midterms, you probably will not lose any time by waiting for the July date. After all, even with one party in control of Congress and no mid-term elections, we still have no FY18 budget, such that the first and second cycle applications will be processed for funding at about the same time this spring.

      • Many Thanks for your quick reply. I too hope that we do not have to resubmit. I told PO that even though our RO1 only scored 9% in summary statement it was written that this application falls within exceptional merit range. PO said that it is all about the budget whether there is money or not. I agree with you about no difference between Feb/June cycle. However, from the grant point of view my worry is that reviewers may expect more data if we wait till June cycle.

        Thank you again for all your help in our tough times

  91. Dear Writedit,

    We had submitted a multi-PI RO1 to NCI in June 2017. It got scored 9%. Summary statement was also fine. I talked to PO back then and PO had all positive comments. However, today I got an email from PO that NCI pay line is set at 8% and they advise us to resubmit/revise. I talked with PO to see if this is an interim pay line and can change. PO said if pay line changes then of course it can get funded but currently no one knows anything. Could you please let me know if PO is trying to be cautious or in reality NCI payline is going to drop from 10 to 8%.

    Many Thanks for your help

  92. confused said

    Any guidance on payline for NIA applications reviewed at the January 2018 council meeting?

    • writedit said

      No payline guidance will be available until the FY18 budget is passed (Council meeting only confirms which applications can be considered for an award – not which ones will receive an award). Even after the budget is signed into law (whether Feb 8 or later), the individual ICs won’t receive their final appropriations until weeks later, so POs won’t have instant answers about individual applications (especially those that require internal discussion).

      • confused said

        Many thanks This is helpful! My R01 scored at the17th percentile (30) at October NIA SC. The next resubmission is in March and my early stage investigator will expire in April 2018. Should I resubmit in March 2018 so I could get advantage of the early stage investigator status? Based on end of 2017 payline my score is significantly below the payline. Any advice?

      • writedit said

        You have a 13-month window of opportunity to resubmit an A1 application and retain ESI status, so if your 17th percentile application was submitted in June 2017, you should be able to wait until July 2018 to submit the A1 ( I don’t know the exact timing of your situation, though, so you should probably contact your PO or the ESI policy officer ( to confirm you are okay to wait for the July submission. You should be okay with the 17th percentile score – but nothing is guaranteed in these uncertain budget times.

      • confused said

        Hi Writedit!

        Just came across the following update by Dr. Barr:

        Looks like NIA will pay applications in the general allocation to the 9th percentile (large applications: 6th percentile; early-stage investigators: 14th percentile; new investigators, 12th percentile). Would that mean that I have no chance to get funded?

      • writedit said

        These are still interim paylines, which should go up more later (look at FY17, for example), pending what happens in March. You could ask for guidance from your PO again, now that NIA has forecast how far it thinks the appropriation it anticipates receiving will go. I assume your application is not AD-related. I expect your PO would advise moving forward with preparing a resubmission, and you should have a final update by May (in time for a June/July submission, within your 13-month time window).

      • confused said

        Thank you so much Writedit! My PO do not want to give me false hope and at the same time do not want me to give up yet. There is a clear uncertainty that will require me to be prepared for all possible outcomes! Looks like I have to prepare a resubmission for July deadline. However I will submit as early as mid May to be on the safe side.

      • writedit said

        That’s exactly right – most of all, he wants to be sure your research is funded, which is why he doesn’t want you to risk losing a cycle, in case something he can’t predict happens in the weeks and months ahead.

      • confused said

        Many thanks!!!

    • UICAlchemist said

      I am in a similar position. A0 R01 to NIA scored 21% (ESI [but I have 6 years left :)]). It looks like NIA keeps their funding policies from previous years posted on the website. If you scroll thru you will find that they usually do not publish a pay-line until mid-February and then update periodically throughout the year. Each of the past two years the pay-line for ESI ADRD has shifted by 7-11 points over the course of the year. I think you should know by April 1- at least that’s what I am hoping for.

      In my opinion Congress needs to remember that ESI’s are Dreamers too. We just dream about an omnibus budget and predictable pay-lines.

      • writedit said

        Thanks for chiming in with your experience, UICAlchemist – and good luck (I think you are right about your 21st percentile, too). If a final budget is passed by Feb 8, the ICs should have an idea of their final appropriations by April 1. When the federal budget passes, there is no instant direct deposit. The funds first go to HHS, which eventually passes the appropriate amount along with reporting and evaluation requirements (which each IC must cover in their budget) to the NIH, which then distributes funds to the ICs … which finally know how much $ they can actually spend on awards for the FY. Anyway, if the CR ending on Feb 8 is not replaced by a budget omnibus bill, then all this will be delayed even further (just assume ICs won’t know their final appropriations until 4-6 weeks after the federal budget is signed into law).

      • confused said

        Thank you UICAlchemist. This is helpful. good luck to you!

        I have confirmed with an ESI representative that the 13 months window should be counted from the date of submission not the due date of an application. I thought this is interesting to know as one may miss the deadline by few days!

      • writedit said

        Great – thanks for sharing what you learned from the ESI official. Most people submit on the application receipt date, but for those who go in early (as they are advised, in case there are errors), it would be a killer to miss eligibility by a day or two by not watching the calendar, so again, thank you for underscoring the need to pay attention to submission date.

  93. SkinDoc said

    My R01 scored in the 9th percentile (31) at the October NHLBI study section. Because I use non-FDA approved drugs, I need to obtain FDA IND approval and go through a commercial IRB. I asked my PO several times whether I should prepare a revision or the FDA and commercial IRB documents and I got very little guidance. On Friday afternoon I was asked to submit my JIT documents, including IRB approval, by Jan. 31 (Wed), and asked if I could start the grant on March 1. There is no way I will get FDA IND approval and commercial IRB approval by Jan. 31. I asked if an extension would be possible and, again, have not gotten much help other than “I think that will be OK.” Is it acceptable to ask to postpone submission of the JIT materials as well as the start date? They won’t pull funding if I don’t have everything in by Jan. 31 or ready to start March 1 will they? To be safe, I’d like to start the grant April 1 or May 1.

    • writedit said

      I am sorry your PO did not give you guidance, because he/she should have recommended that you start working on the IND. If this were the end of the FY (ie, July or August), you would be out of luck, since you would have to have all your regulatory approvals in place by August to allow time to process and issue the award in September. However, with 8 months remaining in the FY, the delay should not be a problem in terms of receiving the award. If you are only communicating with the PO, try talking with your GMS. If you are not getting help from either of them, someone at your institution’s sponsored programs office may have a contact higher up at the NHLBI Office of Grants Management, or you can check online. You don’t need to guess/predict the right start date (or risk losing an award) – that is easily changed when the award is processed.

    • SaG said

      I believe they can make an award and put a restriction on it that you can’t do any of the work that requires an IND until it is approved. Not sure if that works for you but it is an option. I have seen this happen with animal work where the IACUC approval is delayed.

    • SkinDoc said

      Thank you both for your replies. I was able to get a delay/postponement of the IND and IRB submission from the GMS. The GMS also indicated that I can state that the IRB is pending with an anticipated approval date. If I have a pending IRB approval date, would NIH be able to officially make the award but perhaps delay the release of funds until the IRB is finalized?

      The GMS has been a little more helpful but neither one are very specific with the information they provide.

      • writedit said

        I am glad the GMS was able to confirm that the delay is okay. You probably could get an official award with no release of funds for human subjects research until IRB approval is received, but if all the work is contingent on IRB approval, you might just want to wait, in case there are IRB delays that leave you with a long gap between the official start date and when you can actually start the work (looking ahead to progress reports and carry over). However, if there is some organization/coordination work that you can start in advance of the actual trial, such as getting study sites ready and trained, then the earlier start date while IRB approval is pending might make sense.

  94. salchi said

    Greetings…Can I submit a Diversity Supplement for a PhD student with F1 visa?

    • writedit said

      No – as with fellowships and career development awards, the person being supported by an administrative supplement must be a citizen, noncitizen national, or permanent resident.

  95. unhappyesterday said

    Hi Writedit,

    My DP2 failed to move to the second/final review stage (notified yesterday). I have just submitted an R01 that potentially have an overlap issue with the DP2. Should I withdraw the DP2 application? Does it matter at all?

    • writedit said

      Not to worry – you’re fine (no need to withdraw DP2). You only can’t submit the same science for an application under review (once the summary statement is released, it is no longer under review). This is how you can resubmit the same R01 and have both applications considered for funding (ie, first application still active and eligible for award – not withdrawn when the amended application is submitted).

  96. Devyani said

    Hi Writedit,
    I have applied for NIH/NIDDK KO-1 in July-17. I received a score of 29 by November. When I talked to the PO, he didn’t said anything for sure, but did not asked me to reapply( this was A1). He asked me to send a rebuttal for the same, which I did. I am still waiting to know, if this score is fundable. just yesterday my Era commons updated the council meeting done/updated. Can you suggest me anything regarding the score or funding possibilities?
    Thanks You so much for your help.


    • writedit said

      If your PO did not recommend that you reapply, then you can feel pretty positive. However, your PO won’t know anything for sure until the FY18 budget passes. The next deadline for an omnibus budget bill is Feb 8, but if the continuing resolution is again continued (or worse, the government shuts down), just keep monitoring the federal budget status. Once a bill is signed into law, your PO will have a better idea of when and what might be happening. The Council review completed status probably won’t change for a long time, so don’t worry about that.

      • Anonymous said

        Is it possible that some grants might be funded under the CR or do you think everything will be pending until the FY18 budget passes? I’m in a similar position with a K23 to NIMH (impact score 20).

      • writedit said

        Applications scoring within an IC’s conservative interim payline will be funded during the CR. Your PO will know whether your score is good enough to make the cut … the score might be a little high, but it depends on how competitive the K23s at NIMH are this FY.

  97. Devyani said

    Thank you writedit! Looking forward for the budget and keeping my hopes high.

  98. NeedAnotherR01 said

    Writeedit- I have had an R01 that is 1 %ile under last year’s payline and a couple percentile on payline several years before that. It is dependent on FY2018 funding. The PO asked for an A1, which I did (couldn’t change much!) and will be reviewed in March for FY2018, too. My question is, given that it is unlikely for the IC to drop 2 more percent on the payline that they dropped a percent already last year, I assume my A0 will eventually be funded. But how long might eventually take? Say Congress passes a budget next week. It will take two months for appropriations to ICs, but will they raise their interim payline, if they know a range and that they are not likely to have to drop? If no, are they going to just wind up funding the vast majority of applications in June-August?

    • writedit said

      Your PO is using an abundance of caution given the unusual state of affairs in DC. If the FY18 budget passes with the anticipated levels of funding for the NIH, then the interim paylines will be adjusted 6-8 weeks later, and applications within this range from the first two cycles will be put in the queue for processing. Applications just above the payline will have to wait until summer (to see what funding is left over after within-payline awards made), but yours will likely be funded sooner.

      • NeedAnotherR01 said

        Oh, great, that’s helpful. Come on, Senate Moderates!

  99. K01_holder said

    Hi Writedit —

    I currently hold a 4 year K01, and I am wondering if I were to reduce my percentage effort on this grant in year 3 and year 4 down to 50%, could I request a no-cost extension for year 5 and cover 50% effort?

    Thank you for this wonderful resource!

    • writedit said

      No, you are required to commit 75% effort. You should be working on an R01 to provide support beyond the K01 period. You can hold an R01 and K01 for the last two years of the K01 (in which case effort can be adjusted).

      • K01_holder said

        Thank you for the quick answer!

        Follow up question: Can K01 effort only be reduced if it is shifted onto an R01? I will submit my first R01 application between Y1 and Y2 of the K01, and the start date of the R01 application is intended to be in the middle of Y3 of the K01. I also have a current R21, where I currently commit 10% effort. In the overlapping periods of the K01/R21/R01, I am planning to distribute my efforts as K01-50%, R21-10%, R01-35%. The K01 (clinical work) is unrelated to the R21 and R01 (bench work).

        With the K01 effort adjustment under these circumstances, can the reduced Y3 and Y4 efforts be extended into a Year 5 in the form of a no cost extension?

      • writedit said

        Those are negotiations with your PO/GMS. I do not believe you can carry over K award salary (since it is intended to protect your time for research in that FY) – but, again, your PO can tell you what your IC allows.

  100. SR said

    My student was gearing up to resubmit an A1 for his generously scored F31 fellowship when we learned NIGMS has cancelled the program. Can he still submit this as an A1 to be considered by another branch (NCI was listed as secondary on the A0), or will he need to start over with a new A0?

    • StudentJ said

      I say yes. This happened to my F31 and the secondary institute picked up the funding. The application needs to be released by NIGMS and accepted by NCI. I reached out to the PO at the secondary institute first to gauge their interest in my application. The process did take a while, but it was funded in the end.

      • writedit said

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Student J. I was going to suggest that SR start by talking with the NRSA PO at NCI to confirm they would support an award. You are correct that a competitively scored application would need to be relinquished by the primary IC before a secondary IC could make an award, but in this case, SR’s student will just submit the A1 application with NCI assigned as primary and go from there (unless NCI is interested in the A0 application, which is worth asking, too). Congrats on your own award and best wishes for success with your doctoral project and career in biomedical research.

      • SR said

        Thanks for the feedback, very helpful.

  101. NIHblues said

    Any early insights on what the purported budget deal holds for the NIH?

    • writedit said

      I am not sure there is a budget deal as yet, though the Senate bipartisan 2-year plan should imply good news, with the parallel boost in defense and non-defense spending. I expect FY18 will include the Congressional increases previously put forward (was worried everything might get re-jiggered after the tax cuts and revenue loss, but it doesn’t look like any deficit hawks will be taking it out on discretionary spending – yet anyway), so I would think paylines will be the same or slightly better than in FY17, depending on how $ is ultimately distributed among the ICs n’at.

      • NIHblues said

        Thank you for the prompt and, as always, helpful reply. If this optimism carries through to the actual budget, will there be a revival of sorts to the Next Gen Researchers Initiative, you think? Does it still exist even on paper?

      • writedit said

        Not yet (beyond a general desire to fund more investigators in their first decade of research). The Advisory Council to the Director (of the NIH) NGRI working group is trying to figure out how to develop and implement policies to help ESI and EEI applicants that address trans-NIH goals and take into account IC-specific limitations. The next update will be in June 2018. Here is their presentation from last December:

  102. budgetbudget said

    Hi Writedit,

    As reading your blog, I know people are always debating about whether the status of eRA common means anything. Through the years, I thought I get a feeling of where my grant is by looking at the eRA common status, but I got confused today. Today, the status of my potentially fundable R01 went from “pending administrative review” back to “council review complete”. What would be your feeling about this?

    Thank you!

    • writedit said

      Possibly a GMS prematurely starting work on the application (ie, thought yours was next but realized were ahead in the queue, possibly related to the shifting government status (open/shut), possibly an error (ie, your application not scheduled for processing but started in error) … but you should check with your PO as to your funding status, especially if you had not heard whether you were definitely receiving an award. This would be a reasonable query to send (also whether you should resubmit, if this had not been discussed yet).

      • Sunflower said

        Hi writedit and budgetbudget,

        First of all, thank you for this very helpful blog.

        I am an ESI and my application got scored at 9th percentile. JIT was requested two months before council meeting and also after council meeting on January 2018. I reached out to my PO after the council meeting to ask if it were safe to assume that my application had been approved. My PO said that nothing was official until the receipt of a NoA and that there shouldn’t be any spending prior to NoA (project start is in April). What are your thoughts about this? What constitutes a good assurance that a grant will be funded prior to the receipt of NoA?

        I am waiting for my eRA status to change from council review completed. Budgetbudget, may I ask your IC and how long did it take for the eRA status to change from council review completed to pending administrative review?

        I must say that the waiting period is a hard test of patience.

        Thank you!

    • Sunflower said

      Hi budgetbudget, I am waiting for my eRA status to change from council review completed. Budgetbudget, may I ask your IC and how long did it take for the eRA status to change from council review completed to pending administrative review?

  103. Tick Tock goes the clock... said

    OK looks like a budget is finally passed!!! For those of us in the “gray zone”, how long should we wait before reaching out to PO regarding possible funding? My last email PO contact for my K08 was back in October.

    • writedit said

      I know it seems in an era of electronic banking, the ICs should have their appropriation any day, but in fact, it will take weeks to sort out – first at HHS, then at NIH, then at the IC. If you haven’t heard anything in a month, you could check in with your PO (but don’t be surprised if the PO still doesn’t have an answer).

      • writedit said

        Actually, I couldn’t tell with the initial reports, but no budget bill was passed – just another CR until March 23 plus the 2-year budget plan. So, the month-long wait starts after the FY18 federal budget is finally signed into law next month (assuming Congress gets passed immigration reform in the meantime). At least now the NIH has an idea of what is coming (thanks to the 2-year deal), so some ICs may start planning ahead for awards, but most PIs probably will not see a change in status for another month or two.

      • NeedAnotherR01 said

        Thanks, Writeedit, I’d wondered about that, as no actual appropriations seem to have passed, but is the $2 billion for NIH locked in? Just a question of time?

      • writedit said

        Not locked in, of course, but agreed upon in principle. Now, the House could get cold feet and try to reduce funding levels, the President could veto, etc. … but none of this is likely, so I expect the NIH will receive an increase when we finally get a budget for FY18.

  104. ESI said

    Hi, my R01 proposal came back recently as 25th percentile and score of 39. By searching the funding history before the implementation of Next Generation Researcher Initiative (NGRI), I found NIGMS consistently funded ~50% of ESI with 25th percentile. Supposedly this probability will increase a lot because of NGRI, correct? I hope to get your opinion and may ask PO after the summary is back. The other question is whether they also consider the score which does not look good. Thanks!

    • writedit said

      There is no funding policy related to NGRI as yet, so that will not have an impact. NIGMS discusses and picks the upper-range (in terms of score) applications that it will fund, so when you get your summary statement, you should ask your PO if you should draft a response to concerns raised in the Summary of Discussion (for him/her to present at internal meetings) – and if you should prepare an A1 application (which I expect you will be advised to do – even if the A0 could be funded, always good to have insurance).

      • ESI said

        Thanks! The NGRI mentioned that NIH will support 200 more ESI a year. I wonder how they distribute this number to so many institutes.

  105. john chandler said

    I have a question regarding selecting a study section. I have seen that some grants, even for standard PAR, are reviewed by Special Emphasis Panel such as [ZRG1-BST-H (50)R]. How does this work? Is it just chance that a SEP was convened in that particular cycle? The reason I ask is that I feel the area of my grant is similar to one that has been funded, and was reviewed by this study section. However, I am not sure how to request it or whether it can even be requested.

    • writedit said

      Due to budgetary constraints, CSR is cutting back on the use of SEPs, which are convened for RFAs and some PARs (these are recurring SEPs, sometimes based on mechanism vs science, such as AREA, COBRA, SEPA, etc.) but also for regular members (not temporary or mail reviewers) of study sections whose grant applications would normally be reviewed by the panel on which they serve. These can be specific member conflict panels or aggregate SEPs (to cover applications in the same field from multiple conflicted members or other special situations). I suspect the PIs of the grants you saw in RePORTER were serving on the SRG that normally would have reviewed those proposals. You would not be able to request a SEP, especially for a standard application – CSR would assign your application to the SRG deemed most appropriate to review the proposed science.

      • john chandler said


  106. UICAlchemist said

    NIA updated paylines indicated here–>

    excerpt: “we are now paying AD/ADRD percentiled research grant applications to the 18th percentile (large applications: 15th percentile; early-stage investigators: 23rd percentile; other new investigators: 21st percentile). You may expect an award if your application scored within these percentiles. Please do check with program staff though. We do look closely at the review and if there is a strong indication that the science can be improved, then we will not necessarily pay an application even if it falls within that percentile range.”

    • SJ said


      Does this message indicate the fate of our application is till up to the PO’s hands even we have a percentile score within the updated pay range? We had a proposal to a RFA with a 13% percentile score.

      Many thanks!

      • UICAlchemist said

        ? Ask your PO 😉

        This morning I inquired about my application which falls 2 points under the new paylines and my PO replied “if you have ESI status there’s a very good chance your application will be funded.”

        As I mentioned earlier. I am hoping for a NoA by April 1 (assuming spending measures approved on Feb 23)

      • writedit said

        SJ, yes, the fate is ultimately in the PO’s hands – though your 13th percentile score won’t be ignored (the review itself as much as the score should support your application being funded). However, I realize that earlier your PO qualified his support with the recommendation that you prepare a new submission (based on RFA application). Unfortunately, we still won’t know the final appropriation for a couple of months (CR til March 23, then another month before ICs know their budget), but the 2-year spending plan confirms Congressional support for the NIH, and it seems (from the blog post) that NIA has a better idea of their funding plans, so you might check in with your PO again (perhaps citing the blog post that UICAlchemist provided).

        UICAlchemist, I would take your PO’s comment as a good sign, since POs must be conservative no matter what. The PO knows what is already in the portfolio and in the pipeline for this funding cycle and so should have some idea whether there is one or more applications that might have higher priority. If a PO were concerned about your fate, he/she would say so. Also – thank you so much for posting the NIA blog link and details!

      • SJ said

        Hi Writedit,

        Thanks so much for the information. Your blog has been really helpful in the long waiting process.

  107. SB said

    Hi, I submitted two R01 grants this cycle. Both of them assigned to the same study section. How can I request to transfer one of them into another study section? Will it be wise to request to transfer? Can you please give me suggestion in this regard.

    • SaG said

      If you can make an argument that the science in one of the apps better fits another study section then you can and should request a move from the SRO. Otherwise they will, and should, remain where they are. Did you request different study sections for the apps?

      • SB said

        Yes, I requested the different study section.

      • SaG said

        If,based on the science, they both really fit at that study section it will be heard to get one moved.

    • writedit said

      As SaG said, the final decision is up to CSR, but you can ask why your request was not honored. The SROs probably discussed the application in question and felt it was better in the same study section, but you can ask for confirmation as to why (so you know for next time). Sometimes SROs know that the composition of an SRG will be changing (especially with the members leaving and coming on in June/July) and so anticipate a possible change in scientific emphasis. If you were just trying to avoid two applications in the SRG and the second SRG is not ideal (which the SROs would have recognized), then you are better off having both in the same SRG. The SRO will instruct reviewers to disregard the other application when reviewing (and later discussing) the one in front of them, since the science must be reviewed on its own merit. It is up to the awarding IC, not the SRG, to decide whether to fund two qualified applications in the same lab at the same time (which can and does happen – of course, this is not an issue at all if you have two different primary ICs).

      • SB said

        Thanks a lot for the information.

  108. Sunflower said

    Hi writedit,

    First of all, thank you for this very helpful blog.

    I am an ESI and my application got scored at 9th percentile. JIT was requested two months before council meeting and also after council meeting on January 2018. I reached out to my PO after the council meeting to ask if it were safe to assume that my application had been approved. My PO said that nothing was official until the receipt of a NoA and that there shouldn’t be any spending prior to NoA (project start is in April). What are your thoughts about this? What constitutes a good assurance that a grant will be funded prior to the receipt of NoA?

    I must say that the waiting period is a hard test of patience.

    Thank you!

    • writedit said

      Your PO is being standard-issue conservative, since nothing truly is certain until after the NoA is received, but the request for JIT is a positive sign. You don’t mention your IC, but I suspect the Advisory Council for your IC has not met yet (eRA Commons gives a cycle-appropriate date, not actual date for Council meeting – some are in February … NLM is meeting today, for example). Your status will be automatically updated to Council review completed and Pending administrative review as these events unfold. My guess is that you responded to the automatic JIT request a few months ago and then had a personalized request from your PO or GMS (a positive sign but not a guarantee).

      You have a lot more waiting to do no matter what, and you do not need to worry if you do not have a NoA by April 1. The project start date is not an expiration date, and you could very well need to wait beyond April 1 for an award since the federal budget still is not passed yet. It depends how far up the payline your IC is paying during the CR (continuing resolution).

  109. Worried said

    Dear Writedit,
    Just received my R01 score today. It scored at 15%, which is above the last posted payline for NINDS (12%). I am trying to understand the current budget situation and my chance for funding. Is there any chance for NINDs to raise the payline, given that the Appropriations Committee had approved a small increase for NIH? I am also wondering what would happen if NINDS decides to raise the payline later on during the year, after the council meeting for my grant (to happen in May)? Would they go back and fund grants from previous cycles that scored within the new payline? Based on your experience, is there a chance for funding when a grant scores 3% above the payline (I am not a new or ESI)? Thank you!

  110. Teco said

    Dear Writedit,

    I am working with NIH about my budget before my R01 activation. My question is that: In my original budget, I propose 210k for purchasing equipment. Now, I proposed 140k for equipment. My concern is that, will they take 70K direct cost back from my modular budget? Since they replied “In regards to your request to rebudget the equipment costs to hire additional lab personnel, this action is unallowable. Generally, in a competing award, the budget is estimated for what is needed to complete the research. As you were approved for the budget in approved application for what is needed to complete the research, rebudgeting prior to award is not justified.”

    What is my best choice right now?

    Thank you very much

    • writedit said

      You have no choice – if you over-budgeted the equipment cost or if you only need two rather than three $70K widgets, you only get the $ you need for the equipment (this is why there are budget categories – to separate out costs). On every summary statement, there are reviewer comments about the appropriateness of the budget (usually to accept as proposed but sometimes recommending changes). The NIH awards the proposal – and its budget – as reviewed by the study section. The reviewers approved the use of $210K for equipment and apparently did not think you needed additional personnel etc. to complete the study as written (ie, you shouldn’t need an extra $70K for personnel to complete the work proposed). The NIH does not want applicants to pad their equipment budget so they have leftover $ for other costs – especially since shifting funds from equipment to personnel or supplies will alter indirect costs as well (i.e., IC must pay more total costs).

      • Teco said

        Thank you very much for the answer. Perhaps like you said, I need to accept this situation.

      • writedit said

        You can ask your institution sponsored programs administrators (and/or your department’s fiscal administrator) for advice as well, as they will have negotiated many awards and will know what is feasible.

      • Teco said

        No way…. :-(. I was mad because they made my situation even much worse- it is a long story. Thank you very much for your suggestion anyway.

    • SaG said

      Was the $210K for equipment in just the first year? If yes, how were you planning to run your lab on the other $40K? In any case, take the money you originally requested and worry about rebudgeting after the first year.

      • Teco said

        No, they are separated into 3 years. each year I requested $70K. But I realized that I don’t actually need so many equipments. I thus would like to reduce it. But seems not allowable. But I will try to re-budget.

  111. john chandler said


    I have been thinking about two things for a while, thought I will ask now.

    1. Do reviewers care whether Research Strategy fills the full 12 pages for R01 or 6 pages for R21/R03? Extreme case, let’s say it is a page or 2 short. Will the reviewers form a negative opinion?

    2. If an application is submitted a few weeks after the deadline, say for the Feb cycle, does it automatically get assigned to the next cycle (June) or is there a grace period by which the application could be considered for review along with the other Feb cycle applications?

    Will appreciate if someone can comment.


    • writedit said

      1. Reviewers don’t care if you use the full allotment of pages. I have worked on many applications that had extra space left, but never 2 full pages (especially for a 6-page application). If you are proposing a modest 2-3-year R01 project, you might not need 12 pages. However, if you are not providing enough preliminary data, scientific merit, study design rationale and details, etc., reviewers will ding you for this – not for failing to use all the space allowed.

      2. No grace period. If you submit your new application on February 6, it will be assigned for review in Cycle 2 (June submission date). Only regular reviewers who qualify for continuous submission and PIs in very special situations (NIH-defined, such as due to a natural disaster) can submit after a standard receipt date.

      • john chandler said

        thank you.

  112. I have NCI 10% ro1 a1 sitting in era commons since October.
    No questions from me, no word from PO, council date past feb 5 I think.
    Is this a dead duck even though it was fundable in sept?

    • writedit said

      NCAB met Feb 13th (and they’re off today). My guess is that they will only fund applications through ~6th percentile during the CR but will later go back to fund through the 10th once the FY18 budget is signed into law. If you haven’t asked your PO whether you should resubmit, you could ask him/her about both the status of your application and whether you should prepare a resubmission. Even if you are told to prepare a resubmission, this is not bad news – just a conservative PO wanting to be sure you have a back-up plan for insurance – though I’d suggest waiting until summer in any case, since next year, Feb/March submissions will face the same – or worse – budget delays and not be funded any sooner than June/July applications. You should know about your application by April/May (if budget passes by March 23).

  113. Mika 6787 said

    Ro1 proposal, ; Font can be used less than 11 only in tables and figure legends

    • writedit said

      If you are asking, yes, a legible (when printed) font smaller than 11 point can be used in figures and tables for any NIH application (not just R01 applications). However, nothing smaller than 11 point can be used anywhere in the narrative (checked electronically).

      • laghs said

        I also thought so…but I just recently reviewed a proposal that used a smaller font for the specific aims page. Not sure why this was not caught by the computer program.

      • writedit said

        I don’t know what you are looking at, but it could be the font itself is smaller/more compact than what you typically use/read, especially its appearance when converted to PDF (eg, Calibri vs Arial or Times vs Georgia) – though OER recommends ensuring that font display post-PDF conversion still meets the character density and line spacing rules n’at.

      • SaG said

        Grant ProTip. Don’t piss off the reviewers by making it hard for them to read your app. Figure legends (or anywhere else) that one has to use a magnifying glass to read can only lead to a poorer score.

  114. Ruthie said

    I am an early investigator in the Alzheimer’s field. Just received my score on an R01 (8th percentile!). Based on what you have previously posted and NIA releasing interim pay lines last week, I am assuming that it is safe to assume that this R01 will be funded…do you agree? Do you think that I will be able to have a July 1 start date, regardless of what happens with the federal budget or is this still up in the air?


    • writedit said

      Congratulations! Yes, you should be funded on time assuming there are no administrative review hang-ups (regulatory approvals etc. – so if you need IRB, IACUC, IND, etc., you should start working on it plus any required training/certification).

      • Ruthie said

        Thank you! I will get on that.

  115. RNAScientist said

    I have an R01 submitted to NCI that scored 3% (I have EIS still). Went to council 2/13. Any idea how long it takes to get NOA once a grant goes to council, especially if falling way below the payline? All administrative items have been completed a few months back (JIT). Thank you!

    • writedit said

      It can take weeks to months, though hopefully a 3rd percentile application would be at the shorter end of the spectrum. If you need to start spending, you can ask the PO or GMS if you are within 90 days of NoA (I assume you are, but you would have confirmation for your institution to set up an account for pre-spending). My guess is that once your status changes from Council review completed to Pending …, your processing will proceed fairly quickly – but you can ask your PO or GMS if they anticipate any delays (due to federal budget issues/internal bureaucracy).

  116. Worried said

    Dear Writedit,
    Just received my R01 score. It scored at 15%, which is above the last posted payline for NINDS (12%). I am trying to understand the current budget situation and my chance for funding. Is there any chance for NINDs to raise the payline, given that the Appropriations Committee had approved an increase for NIH? I am also wondering what would happen if NINDS decides to raise the payline later on during the year, after the council meeting for my grant (to happen in May)? Would they go back and fund grants from previous cycles that scored within the new payline? Based on your experience, is there a chance for funding when a resubmitted grant scores 3% above the payline (I am not a new or ESI)? Thank you!

    • writedit said

      If the payline goes up after the FY18 budget is signed into law, it would be retroactive to all applications submitted in FY18. The amount of extra funding planned by Congress will not go that far, so it is not likely to elevate paylines (above prior FYs) but could provide for additional select pay and bridge awards. When you receive your summary statement, you can check with your PO about your chances for funding, including whether your PO thinks your application would be appropriate for bridge or select pay.

  117. UICAlchemist said

    I find this blog very useful and wanted to provide some of my data to add to the pool. I received a NoA today for my R03. Here is the timeline with pertinent information.

    02/21/2018 NoA received, Commons status changed to “Application awarded.”

    02/15/2018 Commons status changed to “Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.”

    02/09/2018 JIT submitted.

    02/08/2018 Phone call from PO. They convey strong enthusiasm for project, states “greater than 90% chance of funding”.

    02/07/2018 3rd email inquiry to PO, no email response

    02/07/2018 Commons status changed to “Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.”

    02/06/2018 Commons status changed to “Council review completed.”
    (council held on 02/06/2018, status updated in the PM)

    02/02/2018 Just-In-Time (JIT) information is requested.


    11/30/2017 2nd email inquiry to PO, still too early. No indication of likelihood.

    11/15/2017 Resubmission entered into system (ultimately “Withdrawn by IC – Other Version Encumbered”- i.e., A0 version was funded prior to study section review of A1)

    10/27/2017 Summary Statement available. 1st email inquiry to PO. PO indicates too early to know chances of funding, no FY18 budget in place. No indication of likelihood. No posted pay-lines for historic comparison.

    10/23/2017 Commons status changed to “Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.” Impact Score 34 (no percentile given)

    10/19/2017 Study Section Meeting

    06/26/2017 Commons status changed to: “Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.”

    06/12/2017 Application entered into system (primary institute: NIDA)

    • writedit said

      Woohoo – congratulations and best wishes for success with this project! Thanks so much for taking the time to write out and share your timeline, which will be helpful for many folks (including the withdrawal of the A1 once the A0 was funded, but especially all the long gaps in communication and updates). Hopefully you will get good news for other pending applications as well.

    • Stellar said

      Great work and congratulations

  118. chem said

    My R21 application was assigned to a less preferred study section. The application is focused on an early-translational aspect rather than novelty in methodology or therapeutic target (e.g., novel chemical modification methods, novel target receptors that have not been fully validated), but I know the study section wants to see the latter based on their comments on my previous similar application. Who should I contact first to send a reassignment request? Please advise me. Thanks.

    • writedit said

      If you requested that the application be sent to a different study section than originally reviewed it (ie, the A1 to a different study section), then you should contact the SRO of the original study section (where the application is currently assigned) to explain your rationale for requesting the different study section. You will need good rationale, such as comparing the stated topics (and overlap, if indicated) of both study sections and the expertise on the current and requested SRG panel members. I assume you know this, but you can find all this information at the CSR website: CSR makes the final decision, so if they say the application stays where it is, you have to accept that.

      • chem said

        Thanks for the advice. I did not submit an assignment request in either submission (I should have done it). I’ll contact the current SRO.

  119. Frank said

    This question might be asked before. After the review meeting finishes, do they release scores and not discussed all at once or best score first? My R01 was reviewed on last Thursday 2/22, but no updates are available so far in the era commons.

    • writedit said

      I am not sure if there is a strict policy, but generally the SRO waits to post all the scores at once (summary statements get released as they are completed). I wouldn’t read anything into the delay except it is delayed (could be the SRO got sick, had another commitment, etc.).

      • Frank said

        Thank you!

  120. NewPI said

    Dear Writedit,
    I received my impact score (26) and percentile (9) from NICHD. I am a new investigator and early stage investigator. As you know, NICHD doesn’t specify a payline. Does that mean I can’t interpret my score in any way? Thank you!

    • writedit said

      I think you can feel pretty good about a 9th percentile application as an ESI. When you get your summary statement, touch base with your PO to see if he/she feels you should be thinking about resubmitting and whether you should prepare a short (1 page) rebuttal to the summary review comments. Your PO won’t know about funding likelihood until after the federal budget passes (hopefully by March 23) but should be able to give you an idea of where your application stands in general (and, again, whether you need to resubmit for insurance).

      • NewPI said

        Thank you, writedit. I will wait for the summary statement and hope that the federal budget passes soon!

      • NewPI said

        Dear Writedit,
        I spoke with my program officer a few weeks ago, and he was very positive on the phone, but as you predicted, said he wouldn’t really know anything until after March 23. At the time, he said I should wait, and not prepare a resubmission until we know more about the budget. I was going to contact my PO again to see if there are any updates, but I saw in a reply you sent someone else that it takes quite a bit of time for the institutes to determine new paylines based on the budget. In that case, should I wait a few more weeks to contact him? I’d just like to plan as early as possible if I need to think about resubmitting (resubmission would be July), but I don’t want to bother him if it is a known fact that it will take some time after the budget has passed. Thanks for your advice!

      • writedit said

        Yes, the ICs really won’t know their final paylines until after the appropriation arrives in a few weeks, but if your PO was just waiting for confirmation that they would not lose money (ie, have appropriation cut), then he might feel more confident about giving advice on resubmission (and you can let him know that is what you are concerned about). At worst, he might say to wait until May for final word. A concise query with a simple answer (ie, do you know enough about the budget to say whether I should resubmit) shouldn’t be viewed as pestering.

      • NewPI said

        Hi writedit,
        I contacted my PO yesterday to ask if there was an update, and if I should plan to resubmit. He said something along the lines of hoping that funds will be released and I will be funded. He said any delays are not related to the science. I interpret this as saying I should not need to resubmit. What do you think? I guess NICHD is slower than other institutes but hopefully it will be settled before council meets in June.

      • writedit said

        I agree that he is telling you not to worry, not to resubmit, but just be patient. If he had any doubts, he would have said simply to resubmit for insurance.

      • SaG said

        It is all of NIH not just NICHD..

      • NewPI said

        I was hoping NICHD would set an R01 payline this year, but I guess not!
        Since my PO did not recommend resubmitting in July, if something goes wrong, can I resubmit it in October? Or are is there some limitation on the amount of time that has passed since the first submission?

      • writedit said

        Very positive news that your PO did not recommend that you not resubmit, but you don’t need to worry about timing. You can resubmit in November (if an A1) – you have up to 37 months after the A0 due date to submit an A1 (science should have moved on by then anyway), but you can always submit again as an A0.

      • NewPI said

        Hi Again,
        Today is 3 weeks since council meeting. One of my colleagues suggested I follow up with the PO, but based on other timelines that have been posted, and you mentioning things might be backed up, I was thinking I should just wait patiently. I’m not even sure what I would ask the PO. Any thoughts? Thanks!

      • writedit said

        Yep – sit tight, especially until after the holiday next week. If something bad had happened and your weren’t going to get an award, your PO would have told you. However, the PO likely won’t have any insight about the timing of award processing. If you haven’t received a JIT request yet, you could ask the GMS (if one has been assigned) or PO if this is needed yet. If you have submitted JIT, then definitely just sit tight.

      • SaG said

        I say, sit tight. The wheels of the bureaucracy grind slow.

    • NewPI said

      Thanks, both! I’m glad my instincts were on track, I’m learning so much here! I haven’t received a JIT request yet, so maybe I will follow up the week after next then. Thanks again!

      • NewPI said

        Status changed to “Pending” today! I know it might still be a while and I haven’t received the JIT yet, but I am happy to see a change that, from my understanding, is a change in a positive direction.

      • writedit said

        Woohoo! I think you can put the champagne in the fridge … though no popping the cork until the NoA arrives.

      • NewPI said

        I was told a few weeks ago that my application was approved for funding, but that it is unknown when the NOA will arrive (sometime before Sep 30). I would like to start working on this project soon – is it ok if I ask my PO if I can set up a preaward spending account, or am I being impatient?

      • writedit said

        You need to talk with the grant/fiscal people at your institution about setting up an account for pre-award spending (which is common – not a sign of impatience). Given your eRA status, this shouldn’t be a problem, since you are definitely within 90 days of award, but it is your institution, not your PO, who makes this call and handles the logistics.

      • NewPI said

        I can finally post my timeline for my NICHD R01 (A0):
        Oct 4, 2017: Application entered into system
        Oct 20, 2017: Scientific review group pending
        Feb 28, 2018: Scientific review group completed (Impact score 26, percentile 9)
        Jun 7, 2018: Council Meeting date
        Jun 22, 2018: Council review complete
        Jul 2, 2018: Pending administrative review
        Jul 27, 2018: JIT requested
        Jul 30, 2018: JIT submitted
        Aug 20, 2018: Award Prepared
        Aug 23, 2018: NoA posted

        There is ~17% budget cut which is slightly disappointing, as colleagues mentioned they are unlikely to cut a NI/ESI. Oh well, happy to have the grant!

      • writedit said

        Thanks so much for posting your timeline and all your questions and contributions along the way. Congratulations (at last) and best wishes for success with your research!

  121. Rparke said

    Any chance for an 11% at NCI (established investigator). The grant went through peer review in June of 2017. Thank you.

    • writedit said

      Always a chance, especially if your PO is enthusiastic about your work. If this was reviewed last June, I assume you have talked with your PO about whether he/she needed a rebuttal to the summary statement and whether you should resubmit. If not, ask those questions next (now).

    • Chen said

      Did you get your 11% funded? I happen to know that a 11% at NCI was not funded yet, and I am curious about yours.

  122. Sharan said

    I submitted two R01s in the last cycle and requested two different study sections for the two that were within their scope. However, I see both proposals got assigned to the same study section. Is that a disadvantage or should I request them to assign a different one? Thank you!

    • writedit said

      If you requested two different SRGs for scientifically legitimate reasons (vs just avoiding having 2 applications in the same study section), you could ask the SRO about the application that you thought should be in another study section. Usually, CSR has good reasons for ignoring an SRG request (sometimes because they know the expertise of a panel is shifting due to old members leaving, new members coming on). However, please be aware that having two applications in the same SRG is not a detriment. The SRO will ensure that reviewers focus on each application individually and ignore the other. It is up to the IC, not the SRG, to determine if both applications should be funded in the same cycle based on scientific merit and programmatic priority (and yes, it does happen).

      • Sharan said

        Thank you! I did request two SRGs based on scientifically legitimate reasons though it could fall under either. Good to know that it may not be a detriment though I am an early established investigator. Fingers crossed!

    • alessaycy said

      Just sat on a study section and asked the other reviewers the exact same question. In general, it is not recommended to submit two applications to the same study section in the same round, especially if you are relatively junior. They will see you as lack of focus and question your ability to handle two R01s. However, if you already have R01(s) and are very productive, it should not matter as much.

      • writedit said

        The lack of focus would need to be reflected in the applications themselves (as reviewed independently), not just inferred from the fact that a junior investigator submitted two proposals at the same time (if the applications were reviewed in different study sections, the reviewers in each would recognize lack of planning/focus independent of each other – same is true for two applications reviewed in the same study section). An SRO should not allow a reviewer to raise concern about a PI’s inability to manage two projects if the applications themselves both have high scientific merit. The reviews focus on the scientific merit of each application, including budgeting of time and money, which is often where new investigators stumble – underestimating the time required/ambitiousness of proposed work (but this happens with just one application, too).

  123. K99 applicant said

    Hi Writedit,

    I applied a K99/R00 award and got a score of 14. But, I have some issues about partial overlap between my K99 proposal and my PI’s RO1 proposal.The aims are partially overlapped, but they have significant differences. My PO has some concerns regarding it. How can I solve this problem? Do you have any suggestions and comments?

    I am also wondering whether there is any chance not to get funded with the score of 14 because of potential scientific overlap?

    • writedit said

      The overlap does need to be addressed, both because the NIH will not fund the same work in two different awards and, more importantly, because the K99 portion of your award is both for training and transitioning to independence. If you are essentially working on your mentor’s R01 project, you won’t be able to take it with you when you get a faculty position and begin the R00 portion of your award. Your PO is looking out for you. Your mentor should be willing to drop the overlapping science from his/her R01 and confirm that this is your work (per the K99) and rework the R01 aims accordingly (so there is no overlap). I hope that this only happened (ie, simultaneous submission of work in K99 and R01) as insurance that the science would be funded, either through your K99 or the R01 (in case the K99 did not score well) and that your mentor has worked out with you which aims/experiments/data will be used to launch your independent career (vs advance his/her lab).

      • K99 applicant said

        Thank you Writedit.

        We simultaneously submitted the K99 and the R01. My PI’s R01 got funded, but my K99 wasn’t. Thus, I resubmitted my K99 and got the score this time.

        Even though my PI’s R01 is active, does my PI can modify the R01 proposal? OR do I need to change my proposal? Very worried about this situation. I have to fine a good solution.

        I am also essentially working on the R01 project, which is my main project now.

        Did you have any case like me and what is the outcome?

        Thank you.

      • writedit said

        Aha. No, your mentor needs to continue working on the R01 as proposed, reviewed, and funded (ie, not make any changes). You’ll have to carve out distinct aims that you can develop as your own project (independent from your mentor’s R01) as the basis for your R00, drawn from the “significant differences” you mentioned and eliminating the overlap. Hopefully there is enough distinct science for your K99 (apart from the R01) to be funded as proposed, reviewed, and scored. The key will be to emphasize how your project will diverge from your mentor’s R01 and form the basis of your independent research career.

  124. john chandler said


    I have a question regarding grant review. How do the reviewers and the study section members account for the rules regarding the specific program calls? Not every grant that gets reviewed at a study section will be an R01. For example, I submitted a proposal in response to a call specifically for new investigators and which had set strict limits on preliminary data. Are the reviewers made aware of this by the SRO at the time of assignment and/or during the review (and do reviewers take the time to look at this or or should the grant writer mention it in the proposal?


    • writedit said

      Yes, reviewers of applications submitted to RFAs and PARs are told to review according to the FOA language (including special review criteria noted in the announcement). These panels do not review applications submitted to other FOAs – just the RFA or PAR.

  125. SB said

    I have a question about the grant assignment on institute and study section. I submitted an R21 grant for NIDA. It have been more than two weeks but no study section or institute is assigned for the grant yet. How long does it take to assign a study section? If I need to know about the status , whom should I contact?

    • writedit said

      Did you submit the correct electronic application? That is, there are separate parent PAs for R21s with and without a clinical trial, so you need to make sure you respond to the correct announcement. If you submitted a clinical trial to the FOA that does not allow clinical trials (PA-18-489), or did not include a clinical trial in the FOA that requires a clinical trial (PA-18-344), then CSR would not be able to process your application (and I am not sure how they are handling mistaken application packages in these types of situations). You could contact the CSR Division of Receipt and Referral for information on what is happening with your application. If you have been working with a PO at NIDA, he or she might be able to refer you to someone to contact for an update.

      • SB said

        Today, I finally got an email notification about the assignment of the grant.

      • writedit said

        Fantastic. I assume the IC and SRG are what you expected.

  126. sG said

    Hi. I am an ESI, and my current goal is getting an R01! Have questions for an R21 and R01 overlap issue.

    I submitted an R21 last summer (for an RFA) and got a decent score (27). It seemed mine was in a grey zone, so I discussed with the PO and submitted an R01 (for a PAR this January) that is partly overlapping with the R21 (because of one key idea) but has completely different goals and approaches. The same PO is handling these two RFA and PAR – and he was OK with my idea. The council review for my R21 was on Feb, and the PO then told me that my R21 will likely be funded (Yeh!), but he is worried about the R01 if it get scored well. And Yes. I got a decent score for the R01 just now (23 – no percentile available). The PO said in his email that I have reason to be hopeful, but R21 makes things complex. (??? What does it mean?)

    I have submitted the “overlap analysis” btwn the R21 and R01 to the PO per his request, and will have a phone call discussion with the PO sometime next week when the summary statement for my R01 will be available. Of course I would like to have both R21 and R01 get funded (and I think I argued well in the overlap analysis). But, at the same time, I am a bit worried I might piss my PO off and make him less helpful on my R01 because of this overlap issue he think. My ESI expires this March! and the R01 PAR has already been expired in January (so, no resubmission). I really hope I could get this R01.

    I would appreciate any comments and any advice on possible strategies. Will giving up my R21 help getting the R01 in this case? I guess there would be no guarantee though that my R01 would be funded even if I do so. (R01 council review will be in May.) Or, should I just defend both R21 and R01 as hard as I can?

    Well. I will probably have to submit my R01 by the end of March anyway (before my ESI expires) as an Investigator initiated R01.

    This short turnaround was possible because mine are in the HIV/AIDS cycle.

    Thanks for reading it. Any comments would be appreciated.

    • writedit said

      You shouldn’t need to worry about pissing off the PO. He wants you to succeed, and he knows the R01 is a better award than the R21, if you can only have one (due to overlap). However, if there is a way to separate the two projects and you can manage them both simultaneously, then he should be happy to work with you to make that happen. You can remind him that you cannot submit an A1 for the R01 under your ESI status (you would normally have 13 months to resubmit) and that you will need to submit a new R01 before your ESI status ends – just so he realizes your competitive R01 score is especially timely.

  127. Kate said

    My R21 was reviewed on 12/07/2017. The summary statement was released on 01/09/2018. The council meeting was in Feb 2018. My R21 received a 23 impact score, 7th percentile. Is my proposal will be funded. Is the likelihood high?

    • writedit said

      Yes, even at NCI, I would hope that a 7th percentile application would be competitive. You can check with your PO, if you have not yet, to ask about funding likelihood, whether he/she needs any information from you, and if you should at all consider another application (though, again, I would hope the answer would be no). At worst, the PO might need to wait until after March 23 (or passage of the FY18 federal budget) to give a more confident answer.

      • R21 said

        Just to offer my experience, I submitted an R21 to NIAAA last June and got a 23, no percentile. PO was responsive and helpful but noncommittal re: funding and suggested I resubmit. Council was in October, no news, and I’m submitting the resubmission next week. I suppose there’s still a chance the original application will be picked up, but I’m not holding my breath.

      • writedit said

        For an R21, the score could be high, since they are as or more competitive than R01s, and fewer are funded. However, the fact that the 23 impact score was at the 7th percentile means a bit more – NCI should be funding to the 6-7th percentile. Your R21 is not out of the running – hopefully your PO will have some positive news once the FY18 budget passes. Also, a June submission would not have gone to Council until February-ish (February submissions go to Council in the fall) … or did you mean it was reviewed in June? In any case, any applications in the gray zone won’t be resolved until there is a federal budget in place, regardless of Council timing.

      • R21 said

        You’re right, I meant council was in February. It would have been nice to have a percentile, it’s tough to know what a score means without the context.

  128. Kate said

    forgot to mention that my R21 is in NCI

  129. kate said

    Actually, I did send an email to PO but no response. I guese the PO does not has a definite answer either until FY18 federal budget is passed. I hope it is positive.

  130. Newbie said

    Hello, I’m an ESI and NI who’s application just landed in the 21st percentile. The application was assigned to the NIA. I see from the previous cycle paylines that NIA funded ESI applications to the 25th percentile. How likely is it that a 21st percentile application will be funded on this cycle? Any info would be appreciated!

    • SaG said

      If it is on Alzheimer’s I think the odds are very good. Drops to good if anything else.

      • Newbie said

        Thanks, SaG. Writedit, do you have any info/thoughts on the likelihood of this application getting funded? I know that pay lines yearly in the year are not as favorable. My sense is that I’m in a grey zone.

      • UICAlchemist said

        Is it categorized as Alzheimer’s related (ADRD)?
        Two years ago I had a R01 at 22nd percentile (non-ADRD, ESI) and it was NOT FUNDED.

      • Newbie said

        no its not ADRD. Thanks for the info UICAlchemist.

  131. Finally Funded said

    Thank you, writedit, for this very helpful blog. I recently received my notice of award for a K08 (A0 application) from NIMH, and wanted to share my timeline in case it is helpful to others. I will also share that this was my fifth NIMH grant application that I submitted over the course of the past 7 years (including F31, F32, and R34 applications). I have learned through this process that early engagement with program officers is key, that aligning project aims with programmatic priorities is at least as important as writing a scientifically sound application, and that persistence pays off!

    3/5/18: Application awarded (NOA received) (source: era commons)
    2/27/18: Award prepared (source: era commons)
    2/13/18: Pending administrative review (source: era commons)
    2/12/18: JIT information submitted
    2/2/18: Second JIT request (source: NIMH Grants Management Specialist)
    1/30/18: Council review completed (source: era commons)
    1/12/18: JIT information submitted; spoke with program officer to ensure that rebuttal letter was sufficient
    1/8/18: Rebuttal letter submitted to program officer
    12/24/17: Received email from program officer stating that division was interested in funding application and requesting rebuttal letter
    12/21/17: First JIT request (source: era-notify)
    12/20/17: Email to program officer to discuss next steps
    12/15/17: Summary statement available (source: era commons)
    12/7/17: Scientific review group review completed; impact score: 27 (source: era commons)
    6/19/17: Scientific review group review pending (source: era commons)
    6/9/17: Application entered into system (source: era commons)
    1/30/17: Began discussions with program officer about project concept

    Best of luck to all!

    • writedit said

      Woohoo! Thank you so much for sharing such a detailed timeline (I like the data/contact sources and your initial conversation with the PO!) and for sharing your thoughtful tips, too. All spot on. The PO contacting you on Christmas Eve shows his/her commitment to your career, no doubt in appreciation for your dedication to becoming an independent clinician scientist in partnership with NIMH at each step. Congratulations and best wishes for success with your research and your career path!

      • Sunny said

        Congratulations, you deserve the award! I just wonder if it is common to submit a rebuttal letter for A0 submission before the Council meeting. I thought that a rebuttal letter can be submitted for resubmission (A1). It depends on institutes and POs? Did PO suggest to prepare a 1 page rebuttal letter? Did you submit it by emailing to PO or you asked administrator from your school to submit it using era? Thanks!

      • writedit said

        This is separate from the Introduction required for every A1 application. For some applications (whether A0 or A1) whose score is in the “gray zone”, a PO will ask the PI to write a very short response to the review (for the PO, not for an A1 application), which is emailed directly to the PO (sometimes before Council meets, sometimes after). The PO then uses this rebuttal during internal discussions at the IC (not at Council) of “gray zone” applications in setting the paylist and determining the order of applications (awards are made to applications according to their position on the list until money runs out). However, not all POs request a rebuttal or response to the review, so if you aren’t asked, don’t be concerned. Applications that score within the payline do not need to do this, either. Many PIs receive these awards without ever discussing anything with the PO … but it is always a good idea to ask if there is any question about your funding likelihood (PO will just say no if he/she doesn’t want anything written).

  132. kate said

    So disappointed by learning from my PO that at this point, only 6th percentile R21 or below will be considered for funding. Dear Dr. writedit, do you think this number will go up once Fy18 budget pass in late March. As I mentioned to you earlier, I have a 7th percentile R21.

  133. NI said

    Dear Writedit,
    Typically how long does it take after council review is completed before you hear anything from the PO? The council met to discuss my R01(GMS, 12%, NI) on Jan 23. Its been radio silence since then. Im starting to worry…

    • writedit said

      (Most) POs do not routinely contact PIs after Council, unless they had already been communicating regularly with the PI. You could certainly check in for an update. The PO might not have definitive news until a federal budget for FY18 is passed (hopefully by March 23), but he/she should be able to say whether you are on the paylist and/or whether you should be looking at resubmission in June or July (hopefully not at the 12th percentile).

  134. SB said

    Dear Writedit,
    I submitted an R21 grant on NIDA. This grant went to NIDA but the assigned to Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences (CVRS) IRG which is under NHLBI. I am wondering how they consider the grant for funding. The study section it went doesn’t consider or somehow didn’t fund R21 grants. My question is, how the funding decisions are made for a grant which assigns to one institute (e.g. NIDA) but reviewed in IRG under another institute (e.g. NHLBI)?

    Another question is, I submitted the grant under FOA: PA-18-489, NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program, Parent R21. Today , I noticed that they have a PAR (PAR-18-437) called CEBRA program which support high-risk, high impact research. Will they consider the grant under this PAR though submitted in response to another FOA? I am an ESI and things are new to me. I asked couple of investigators but they really couldn’t help me. Can you please explain this two contexts? Thanks for this wonderful informative webpage.

    • writedit said

      First, the CVRS IRG is part of the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), not NHLBI. To which study section in the CVRS IRG is your application assigned? (see CSR makes review referral decisions based on the abstract and specific aims, unless you completed the referral form as part of your application package (to request a specific study section). The assigned study section will only conduct a review of scientific merit. NIDA will make the funding decision based on the outcome of that review.

      Each funding opportunity has its own application package, so applications are only considered for funding through the FOA to which they were submitted. You would need to withdraw your application submitted to the Parent Announcement and resubmit to the CEBRA program. This is feasible, since the CEBRA due date is August 20, 2018. I do not think you can leave your application sent to the Parent Announcement since it may not be reviewed in time for you to submit the same science to CEBRA (your summary statement would need to be issued prior to August 20, which is possible, depending on the SRG review meeting date, but not assured). However, before you do any of that, I would suggest that you talk with the PO for the CEBRA announcement about your project and whether it is a good fit (and if so, if you should withdraw your current R21 application).

      Please note that your ESI status has no bearing with an R21 application – your review and payline will be the same. Only R01 applications from ESI applicants receive special consideration.

      • SB said

        Dear Writedit, The assigned study section is CCHF which fits best with the proposed grant. I was wondering my grant may be the only grant from NIDA to be reviewed on CCHF while other grants will be from NHLBI. Each study sections scoring strategy is different. How they will compare the Score of one study section to another? This was not clear to me. Thanks for explaining the CEBRA program and its clear to me now.

      • writedit said

        The study section is not linked to an Institute. If this is the right study section for your science, then it doesn’t matter that NIDA would be the funding IC. Several currently awarded R01s reviewed in CCHF are funded by NIA rather than NHLBI. The use of percentiles helps eliminate some of the effect of the study section (ie, higher scores in tougher study sections correspond with lower percentiles), but study sections do not tailor their reviews to the funding Institute – they are focused on the science.

      • SB said

        Thanks a lot for all these information. Really, learned a lot about the whole process from this extraordinary and valuable site.

  135. NeedAnotherR01 said

    Hi, writedit. Always must thank you for your invaluable service you provide! I had a technical question about percentiles which has nagged at me a bit. The scenario is that I had an A0 competitive renewal scored in June, 2017 at 1%ile below 2017 payline and 2%ile below paylines of previous two years at my primary IC. I was asked by grant specialist in August to submit JIT, which I did. But, because there was no federal budget in sight, my PO suggested I put an A1 in, just in case, to also be scored and counciled within FY2018. I was a bit reluctant, because I found it hard to believe the A0 would not eventually be funded. But who knows with the current federal government? They still haven’t produced a budget, and we’re half way through March.

    So I put an A1 in, which didn’t really change much over the A0, with an Introduction that basically said: “Thanks so much reviewers for being so enthusiastic about the first version, which you scored well enough that you probably thought it would be funded, but — as a lesson to us all about the current government — still was not picked up for funding. Herein I’ve fixed all the random, slight concerns you thoughtfully articulated and also published a paper on some of the preliminary data.” Reviewers of the A1 ratcheted up their enthusiasm, so now I am 8%ile below the FY2017 payline. So I am happy, but it nags at me that they will pick up only one version, yet I have thrown two well-scoring applications into the overall percentile matrix that are both below the likely payline. Do both of them count ultimately for percentiling, such that one of them may have bumped some other person’s borderline application to above the payline, or, once one is administratively withdrawn, does that space open up? If they pass a budget next week with the expected NIH boost, then the A1 will not likely have sped up my time to funding. Meanwhile, I wasted reviewers’ and SRO time and might have messed up someone else’s percentile. Just wondering if it was selfish of me, in some senses, to put an A1 in on a score that was likely to be funded anyway if I waited it out, given POs almost always tell you to put another application in as a CYA mechanism.

    • writedit said

      No, not selfish at all – you absolutely did the right thing (and the PO gave you good advice). Neither your PO nor you know the total number of competitively scoring applications that are sitting in line – the payline could easily be adjusted a percentile or two, putting you into the gray zone … and the federal government has been unpredictable (even if Congress’s support for the NIH specifically is strong). The NIH has had to assume the CR would continue through FY18, in which case you might not be within the payline.

      Your two scores do not affect overall payline decisions, you did not knock anyone out of contention (you as a PI would only be considered once), and your A1 score did not skew any percentiles (which allow ICs to compare the ranking of scored proposals in a particular study section with those in other study sections – your application wasn’t setting the curve).

      Wasting reviewers time happens when a PI submits a half-baked application just to get some feedback and/or to always have something in the pipeline. Your second application pushed you to improve your science and may have helped reviewers (especially newer ones) by providing a nice exemplar to discuss. I really, really appreciate your concern though – we need more investigators like you! And congrats on knocking the A1 out of the park.

      • NeedAnotherR01 said

        Thanks! That helps. I’ll just celebrate then and work on the competitive renewal of my other R01….

  136. Ruthie said

    Thank you for all your wonderful advice on this blog. I have a question regarding reviewed R01 applications and funding. My original R01 went to council in October with a percentile that would have barely made the cut based on 2017 paylines, but it is up for funding in 2018. I have since resubmitted and received a much improved score and anticipate that the resubmit will be funded. In light of a potential federal budget being approved in the upcoming weeks, I am wondering if I need to withdraw my original application? If by chance they would both be within the funding range for 2018, I would prefer that the resubmission be funded because it is a better grant, more money, more work, etc. I don’t think that this matters, but I am an early and new investigator (for original and resubmission) and in the Alzheimer’s field. Thanks in advance for you comments.

    • writedit said

      No, you don’t need to withdraw the first application. Talk with your PO about the two proposals and your preference that the A1 receive the award instead of the A0 (in case it is under consideration). The IC (NIA, I assume) will want to fund the best science, which they would likely concur is the A1. You would be funded at about the same time for either proposal in all likelihood anyway.

      • Ruthie said

        Thank you!

  137. MedSci said

    Dear writedit,

    I read your blog on a regular basis and have learned a lot. Thank you so much! I would like to have your advice on my R01 application (A0). It was reviewed about two weeks ago and scored at 15% (NHLBI as primary institute). I contacted my PO last week and asked him if I should resubmit my grant application in July. Below are his responses:

    “Congratulations on a competitive peer review score of your application.
    The FY2018 R01 payline at NHLBI is 15%. This means that your application will be under consideration for funding. The
    application is assigned to the May, 2018 NHLBI Advisory Council Meeting. The application will also undergo an internal administrative review within NHLBIO. After these steps, NHLBI will develop a payplan of grants that it intends to fund. While you appear to be in a strong position, no guarantee of funding can be made at this time. Paylines can change at any time, etc…You may be notified to submit Just In Time information. I would recommend that you do this when queried, but
    realize that a JIT request is not an indication of a funding decisions. In summary, the process is relatively slow, and I would not anticipate having
    more definitive guidance about funding until perhaps June-July, 2018. Of course, you can check back with me for updates. If additional information is needed for any aspect of the application, you will be notified. We have been developing the XXX (related to my research topic) portfolio over the past several years, and is an area that I am keenly interested in. Perhaps we can schedule a call in the near future to talk about your interests in XXX, and exchange some thoughts about where this area of science is headed.”

    He did not say anything about resubmission. Do you think I should resubmit my grant in July? Any comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • writedit said

      You have a fantastic PO! No, although funding is never guaranteed until you have the Notice of Award, your PO is telling you that you should be funded (you are within the payline) and that he wants you to be funded (even better). Instead of working on a resubmission, I would suggest you call your PO to talk about XXX and where the science is headed and see if there might be another project to consider in conjunction with or complementary to your R01. I won’t send full congratulations until you have your funding, but you can spend your time thinking about how you’ll approach the science versus how to resubmit the same application.

      • MedSci said

        Dear writedit,

        Thank you so very much for the advice. Greatly appreciated. I will keep you posted.

      • Salchi said

        I currently have an ROO from . I would like to submit a minority supplement for my student who is Korean American. Would she qualify?

  138. SaG said

    Maybe but unlikely.


  139. ABC123 said

    My F application has been in administrative review since middle of February. We submitted JIT documents on Feb 23 to the grants specialist. Are things generally slow right now at the NIH? When should I reach out to my PO again? Thank you for a great blog!

    • writedit said

      This time frame is completely normal (some applications are stuck at Pending for months), and there is nothing your PO can do to speed it up. You don’t need to worry about there being problem that you need to address – your PO will contact you if he/she needs any more information or needs anything clarified.

  140. avocado said

    Hi Writedit:

    My A1 R01 submission to NIGMS was scored, but not well enough (I thought), to be funded. But today, out of the blue, I received an email from my PO asking me to send in my ‘Just in Time’. The PO also wanted to know the direct costs going to your laboratory. Does this mean I’m still in the running???

    If so, this is such a pleasant and unexpected surprise. Would love to know your thoughts……

    • writedit said

      Yes, the PO only requests JIT if they are considering an award, and the request for clarification on the budget especially means they are very interested. The PO might be pushing for an R56 (bridge funding), too. You can ask if the PO needs any additional information, such as a rebuttal to any of the concerns raised, and for an update on your application’s status.

      • avocado said

        Thanks writedit.

        But NIGMS does not offer R56s, does it?

  141. R15 with institute switcheroo said

    Hi all, Does anyone have any historical insight on how R15s fare at NIDDK? paylines? I cannot find this information online. My A2 (i.e. resubmission of my A1) is being reviewed at NIDDK. The proposal is an attempt at continuation (i.e. 2R15) that was previously funded by NIAID. My PO at NIAID advised me to resubmit. I did so; my grant was sent to NIDDK with a NIDDK PO. My current A1 scored a 29 and remains under consideration at NIAID. I am hopeful… I probably have a 1 year bridge before a gap in funding as a PI will shut down my lab. Despite trying, I havent been able to make a R01 go at our smaller school (where there is only n=1 R01 on all of campus).

    • writedit said

      Did you intend for your renewal to go to NIDDK? If not, and if you just submitted on Feb 25), you might want to check with your NIAID PO to see if the application can be moved back to NIAID (if your PO wants to keep the project in his/her portfolio, which I assume is the case).

      Although this doesn’t sound like it was your intention, if your wanted the “A2” application to go to NIDDK, then you should touch base with the NIDDK PO and let this person know about your prior PO at NIAID.

      • R15 with institute switcheroo said

        Thanks! It was for the Feb 25 submission. I did not intend for my A2 to go to NIDDK. My PO at NIAID has been very responsive and great, but hasn’t been able to respond to my queries about this. After I received my summary statement, he suggested that I put in a new application. I did so and requested that it go to the NIAID.

        I got a little concerned about the current confusion since my read from eRA commons (i.e. the listed study section) was that it would be reviewed within the next two weeks. Does it ever go to study section that quickly?? I have been able to get in touch with the NIDDK PO, and we will discuss the situation soon. Even though I did not intend for this to happen, is there any benefit to having a 29 pending at NIAID and a new submission to NIDDK? Is that a good way to hedge bets? Both are listed as “secondary” institutes for the other respective submission (i.e. A1 and A2). Are the days of having your application considered by two institutes gone? Do we/I need to decide on one or the other?

        Thanks again— this site and your commentary is immensely helpful.

      • writedit said

        That’s good that you will talk with the NIDDK PO, since NIDDK had to accept the application (ie, someone there said yes, we’re interested). He/she will be able to comment on whether your application will do better at NIDDK vs NIAID – they can share the award, too. If the NIDDK PO has any concerns, he/she can talk with your NIAID PO about what is best for the application. Unless you are not happy with the assigned SRG, you don’t need to worry about the reviewer assignments; if you do not have an SRG listed, then that is what the 2 week time window refers to – assignment to a study section (if you requested a specific SRG, that request should be honored, especially if it’s the same panel that reviewed your prior applications).

      • R15 with institute switcheroo said

        thank you! I will try to update with the ultimate outcome.

  142. Ruthie said

    I always enjoy reading your blog and the helpful comments/suggestions you give.

    I submitted an R01 as PI in October that looks like it will get funded (hopefully with a July 1 start date), but council doesn’t meet until the end of May. I also submitted a completely separate R01 as PI in February that will be reviewed in June. Right now, the February submission has me listed as a new investigator. I am wondering if I will keep new investigator status for the February submission even if my October submission is funded since I qualified as a new investigator when it was submitted or will I lose new investigator status on the February submission if the October submission is funded? I ask because I am considering moving the application to a different funding mechanism that was announced after I submitted the February application and has a an April due date, but I assume that I would lose my new investigator status if it was moved.

    • writedit said

      New investigator and ESI status are based on your status at the time of submission, and your status doesn’t change until you receive an award. Now, you can’t submit the same science that is in your Feb R01 to a new FOA until after you receive the summary statement for your Feb R01 – which won’t be in time for an April submission. You would need to withdraw the Feb R01 before submitting the same proposal in April (you can’t just “move” it – every FOA has its own electronic application specific to that FOA).

  143. Impatient said

    Dear Writedit,
    I apologize for my “stupid” question. I received the summary statement a few days ago with a score 3 percentile above the current posted payline. The overall discussion summary was very positive and enthusiastic. I am debating whether to contact the PO now or wait until when there’s a more clear idea of the budget (March 23). I do not want to pester the PO but at the same time I am eager to find out my chance for funding. What do you recommend?

    • writedit said

      First – there are no “stupid” questions! (except the ones not asked) Hundreds of people reading the blog have the same question … you were smart enough to ask.

      Yes, I would suggest contacting your PO to ask if he/she anticipates final paylines going up (we won’t know for sure until after March 23, but PO might have an idea about how conservative the interim paylines are) and whether you should prepare a resubmission. You could also ask whether you should prepare a rebuttal to the summary statement (for the PO to use in advocating for an award for your application. Well-defined questions are easy for the PO to answer quickly (whereas “will I be funded?” is not).

  144. Carmen said

    Wriredit , how does one choose a PO before them being assigned to the application? Are certain POs assigned to an institution? Or to a type of grant (e. g. K or R)? Or to certain research interests? Please shed some light onto this issue. Thanks in advance!

    • writedit said

      If you don’t pick a PO, one is assigned when CSR refers (based on the application’s abstract) the application to an IC, which must accept the assignment (which it only does if there is an appropriate match with mission and science covered). The assigned application can only be accepted if there is a PO whose research area/portfolio the application matches, who becomes your PO.

      However, it is much better to identify a PO well in advance of applying. You can do this by asking mentors and colleagues in your field … by reviewing the website of the IC(s) of interest (they all have a section for scientific or program contacts, usually by research area) … by searching RePORTER (either by PO name, to check the portfolio of a PO you are considering contacting, or by research terms, to identify similar projects and look at their POs). In RePORTER, you can also paste in entire paragraphs (such as an abstract from a manuscript or poster summarizing your science) at Matchmaker ( to find projects similar to yours and then also find the POs associated with these projects. This strategy also works for picking a study section (look at the SRGs assigned, then go back and search RePORTER by SRG to see what is getting funded in those panels).

      • TKong said

        Dear Writedit,
        I have a K25 award with NIAID that will end on May 31 this year, and it still has ~50K balance. I am in negotiation with a new institute for a faculty position. Is it possible to transfer the K when it goes into no cost extension? If not, can I request transfer starting say May 01 before it enters NCE? Thank you very much!

      • writedit said

        You can’t transfer the award until you are an employee of the new institution. As far as I know, you should be able to take any funds left in the NCE with you, but you can check with your PO or GMS to be sure – and they would need to know soon in any case to start the steps needed to transfer the award (takes months).

      • Carmen said

        Thank you, writesit!

  145. avocado said

    Hi Writedit

    Quick question about JIT….. The PHS 398 (other support) form asks for active and pending support for all senior/key personnel. My R01 application has several collaborators who are not budgeted on the proposal and are contributing 0% effort. They are however listed as senior/key personnel. Do I need to include their active and pending support?

    Thanks a lot for your help. Your blog is invaluable

    • writedit said

      You can ask the GMS (or your institution’s fiscal/sponsored research administrator) for sure, but I believe you only need to report the other support for individuals being funded on your budget (since the NIH is only concerned about overlapping support for the same/similar work and/or insufficient effort available for what is budgeted).

  146. Rparke said

    The NIH seems slated to receive a $3 billion increase in the just announced omnibus bill. Am I correct? If this is correct I can’t imagine paylines staying at 2017 levels?

    • writedit said

      Depends on the IC, whether they have special initiatives they need to fund, their funding priorities, number of competitive applications on the paylist, etc. … but yes, better paylines than FY17 (bigger increases from FY17 to FY18 than occurred from FY16 to FY17).

      However, even with the 2-year spending plan (principles only) approved earlier this year, since ICs don’t know what will happen to their budgets in the next 4 years, they can’t go too crazy starting new long-term commitments. If, for example, an IC funds an extra 50 R01 applications and then has a significant cut in their budget in 2 years (or even flat funding rates), their paylines will plummet and they’ll risk losing good science, since they will need to meet obligations for noncompeting renewals before they can consider competing awards.

      The numbers below compare appropriation language, which does not reflect actual $ available to the IC (ie, <$ will actually be available for FY18 than is listed, but not significantly less, and in the same proportion as FY17):

      NCI: $5,664,800,000 in FY18 vs $5,389,329,000 in FY17 NHLBI: $3,383,201,000 vs $3,206,589,000 NIDCR: $447,735,000 vs $425,751,000 NIDDK: $1,970,797,000 vs $1,870,595,000 NINDS: $2,145,149,000 ($250,000,000 for opioid research) vs $1,783,654,000 NIAID: $5,260,210,000 vs $4,906,638,000 NIGMS: $2,785,400,000 vs $2,650,838,000 NICHD: $1,452,006,000 vs $1,380,295,000 NEI: $772,317,000 vs $732,618,000 NIEHS: $751,143,000 vs $714,261,000 NIA: $2,574,091,000 vs $2,048,610,000 NIAMS: $586,661,000 vs $557,851,000 NIDCD: $459,974,000 vs $436,875,000 NINR: $158,033,000 vs $150,273,000 NIAAA: $509,573,000 vs $483,363,000 NIDA: $1,383,603,000 ($250,000,000 for opioid research) vs $1,090,853,000 NIMH: $1,711,775,000 vs $1,601,931,000 NHGRI: $556,881,000 vs $528,566,000 NIBIB: $377,871,000 vs $357,080,000 NCCIH: $142,184,000 vs $134,689,000 NIMHD: $303,200,000 vs $289,069,000 FIC: $75,733,000 vs $72,213,000 NLM: $428,553,000 vs $407,510,000 NCATS: $742,354,000 vs $705,903,000

      OD: $1,803,293,000 vs $1,665,183,000

      NIH Innovation Account, CURES Act: $496,000,000

  147. NI said

    My R01 application status (GM, 12% percentile, NI) just changed to pending. Is that a good sign? I just saw that Trump may veto the spending bill, so I am getting very nervous!

    • writedit said

      Even if he had vetoed the spending bill, the Pending status means your application is being processed for an award. Assuming no administrative issues are found, you should be all set, though nothing is final until the award is issued.

  148. R21 hopeful said

    I have an R21 for NIAAA, reviewed in October, that seems to be on the outside edge of funding. I resubmitted in February, but I’m wondering what, if any, implications the increased NIH/NIAAA budget might have for getting the original application funded?

    • writedit said

      It’s possible – you can check with your PO, especially to see if providing a rebuttal to the prior review would be helpful. It could be, too, that if your Feb submission shows receives a clearly fundable score, your PO will be able to advocate for funding the A0 rather than have you wait for the resubmission.

  149. Kate said

    Dear writedit,

    The bill was just passed. Do you think a 7% percentile R21 will be funded
    (NCI). Thanks

    • writedit said

      Gosh, I hope so … I think you should feel pretty comfortable, but you can check with your PO to be sure, especially whether he/she might need any information from you to help advocate for an award.

  150. NextGen said

    Perhaps far too early to say but any revived hope for the Next Gen researchers Initiative (I mean the 25th percentile target?) with the new budget. NCI in particular?

    • writedit said

      The NGRI is not tied to the budget per se, though its implementation will be. However, right now, there is no official NGRI policy, especially the 25th percentile goal. I expect all ICs will be funding ESI and EEI at higher paylines in FY18, but it will be in proportion to the overall increase (vs a hard 25th percentile payline for all ESI).

  151. Postdoc said

    This blog has been very helpful for me in calming me down when I was stressed about my application and answering my questions. I received my NoA on 3/26/18. I thought I would post a timeline for my F award. (Side note this was reviewed and scored at Institute A and was funded at Institute B). Thanks again!

    03/20/2018 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
    02/15/2018 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
    10/20/2017 Scientific Review Group review completed. Refer any questions to Program Official.
    08/14/2017 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
    08/04/2017 Application entered into system

    • writedit said

      Congratulations and best wishes for success with your project and career in biomedical research! Thank you so much for sharing your timeline! Fellowship applications are usually reviewed in CSR study sections rather than by IC-specific review panels, so I assume that is what you mean by being reviewed at Institute A (a CSR study group, perhaps not necessarily in your funding IC’s area of focus) and funded at Institute B.

  152. First time F-Applicant said

    Thank you for this great blog & to everyone that has posted timelines for their F awards over the years! I am currently fretting about my F31 (NHLBI) “pending administrative review” status because today is officially one month since my last update. Do you think I should email my grants administrator to check in or just sit tight? I tried to contact my PO after receipt of my summary statement, but they never answered back (we emailed 3 times between me & my PI over the course of 2 months and called once). However, the grants admin has been very responsive, so I think she may be able/willing to help. I just don’t want to be obnoxious. My last communication with her with her was in early January when she asked for the JIT info, so I don’t know how frequently one should email. (I am at the published funding line.) Thanks for your advice.

    • writedit said

      You can settle back and relax until they contact you for any information. The Pending administrative review means they are processing your application for an award, but you can be stuck at that Pending status for a month or more (sometimes a few months during fractious budget years, like this one). No need to panic – just hurry up and wait.

      • First time F-Applicant said

        Thank you so much for putting my mind at ease! I’ll try my best to chill out and limit myself to refreshing my era commons page only every 10 minutes, lol. Hopefully I will be able to update everyone with a completed timeline soon. 🙂

  153. R01 said

    Dear Writedit,

    I recently got my R01 and the budget was cut 12% due to NIH operating under CR. I emailed my PO and GMS today to asked if I could get the 12% back. Here is their response: “At this time NIAMS’ FY18 Funding Plan continues to include a 12% reduction on competing grants. We do not anticipate this changing as a result of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.” Does this mean that I will never get the 12% back? Thanks.

    • writedit said

      No, and their funding plan makes it clear that the 12% cut to all competing awards is standard (they will apparently carry forward the FY17 policy, Their goal is to fund the maximum number of awards, though it does seem odd they would impose the cut in a year with an appropriation boost (since they may not want to risk increasing the number of awards too much, with no assurance higher funding levels will continue in future budget years). Not sure how they came up with 12%, unless that was the average amount of carryover for RPGs over a number of years.

  154. Teco said

    Hi, Writedit,

    Again, thank you very much for the excellent blog. Your encouragement reduced a lot of my anxiety during the waiting time. Here I would like to contribute my timeline of my R01 and hope to help other readers.

    03/27/2018 Application awarded.
    03/21/2018 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
    02/06/2018 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
    01/30/2018 Council review completed. (NIMH)
    11/20/2017 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official. (12th percentile)
    07/13/2017 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
    07/05/2017 Application entered into system

    • writedit said

      Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing your timeline! You must have had a very competitive score, since that is a great turn-around time, especially during budget limbo. Best wishes for success with your project and your career in biomedical research.

    • UICAlchemist said

      Would you mind sharing the institute and impact score?

      • Teco said

        Sure. It is NIMH and 12 percentile.

      • UICAlchemist said

        Congrats! Thanks

    • donttakenoforananswer said

      Color me jealous. I have application to NIA that was scored at the 6th percentile, but has been stuck at “Council review completed” since 1/24/2018.

  155. Keith said

    Thanks for the very informative blog. When do you think the paylines (particularly NCI) will come out now since the spending bill has passed? getting a 11% and pretty anxious now.

    • writedit said

      Paylines won’t be updated for 6-8 weeks – it takes that long for the appropriation to get first to HHS, then to NIH, then to NCI (gets smaller at each step), at which point the Director can assess how far their money will go based on the number of scored applications in the queue.

      • Keith said

        Thank you so much. Fingers crossed for slightly better payline this year!

  156. kate said

    I have a R21 (7th percentile) . I have sent several emails to my PO but never received any response. Is there anyone know if NCI will increase the payline for R21.


    • writedit said

      I would think that NCI will get to the 7th percentile for R21 applications, but POs will have a better idea in a month or so, after the appropriation is sorted out. You don’t mention when you were reviewed, but if you just received the score, your PO will want to wait to talk with you until you have a summary statement – though, again, the PO won’t have any news until May. I would suggest waiting and checking again in early May, if you haven’t heard (with either your PO or GMS) – and also ask if you should resubmit in June/July.

      • kate said

        Thanks so much for your reply. My grant application was reviewed on Dec, 2017. The council meeting in Jan, 2018.
        Do you know whether NCI has ever only fund up to 6th R21 in the past?

        Thank you

      • writedit said

        In the most lean years, especially when the hard payline was at the 6th percentile and applications from the 7-15th percentile were discussed on case-by-case basis internally by the SPLs, it was possible for a 7th percentile application not to be paid (also if not of sufficient programmatic interest).

  157. Douglas Smith said

    Dear Writedit:

    I need your advice. I am an established investigator. My new R01 (NIEHS) was reviewed by study section in October 2017 and scored 30 (15 percentile). My PO at that time said that payline for R01s was 10, and that she will nominate my grant under `raise to pay” mechanism. But she also suggested I resubmit. Since I have continuous submission, and because the comments were minor, I re-submitted in December 2017, and the A1 was reviewed in February 2018. Unfortunately, I did worse (score 39, and percentile 23). It is clear from the summary statement that is was the same reviewer, who brought up new issues and said I did not address previous criticisms well. In fact, s/he said I was asked to provide preliminary data for 2 aims (I was never asked) etc.

    Before, my A1 was reviewed my PO told me she will still be able to fund my A0 even if my A! did worse, but they just wanted to know the score, and if I improved significantly they would fund the A1. After getting the A1, my PO now says I may need to go back as A0. I then told her how unfair and wrong the reviewers were etc. She then said she will read both critiques again and will talk to me on April 12. All these conversations happened before the 2018 budget was passed. She said she will discuss my options etc.

    My question to you is can they still fund my A0?

    My grant A0 and A1 is dual assigned to NHLBI (their payline is 15) and NCI. I have an R01 with the NHLBI. I talked to my HL PO, and he said if NIEHS does not fund, they may consider but NIEHS needs to release my grant in order for them to make the HL the primary. Also, the NHLBI guy is not sure if my application is very relevant to NHLBI mission. All my conversations with NHLBI have been on the phone, and there has been no email trail.

    My concern is that my NIEHS PO may still not give me a definitive answer when I talk to her on April 12, and If I ask her about the NHLBI option, she will lose all interest and may not give me a R56. I spoke to the director of the NIEHS (whom I know well) in general (not my specific application), and she said she will fund a significant number of `raise to pay’ applications if the budget passes (now we know it has passed).

    So, please let me know what I should I do. I badly need this grant. I am planning to submit as new on April 16. Should I now request NHLBI as the primary? In this way if I score 30, then I will be in. But we never know what will happen.

    Also, should I also talk to NCI about my A0?

    Thanks a lot

    Douglas Smith

    • SaG said

      A PO will not give you a definitive answer about funding a grant until it is actually funded. They might tell you the odds are slim or they are cautiously optimistic. Institutes also do not like payline shopping. My advice is to sit tight and cross your fingers. If you are going to submit a new grant and request NHLBI as primary make sure it aligns with their mission. Otherwise they might not fund it even if it gets a good score.

      And yes, NIEHS could still fund your A0 grant. But if it is raise to pay then other considerations besides score come into play. For instance they might pay someone who has no other grants before you. I wouldn’t bring up the NHLBI option with the NIEHS PO unless you are sure that NHLBI will accept it and have a higher probability of paying it. Your NIEHS PO might have several grants they want to raise to pay and if yours is off the table…..

    • writedit said

      SaG gave you great advice. The A0 is definitely still in contention. If NIEHS has not given you a decision by July, you still have time to check with NHLBI to see if they are still interested, and then talk with NIEHS about relinquishing the application if so.

      With regard to submitting again as an A0, I agree that you need to confirm with your NHLBI PO whether your project is relevant to their mission and of interest to the PO. You could ask at NCI, too. If they are vague or noncommittal, push for clarity on whether they want it in their portfolio. There are prior comments on this blog confirming that a well scored application (less than 10th percentile) will not be funded if it is not of programmatic interest (from PIs who learned very hard way). On the other hand, it sounds like you have a great PO at NIEHS, who has done a lot, really, (it is significant that your application is in a very, very small pile of proposals being considered for select pay) and has been very communicative about your 15th percentile application. You might want to ask her about a third submission, including what she might advise you do to improve the application for your target study section.

  158. TryingToPlan said

    Thank you for all of your excellent advice/feedback. I scored well on an R01 application and was wondering if you could offer any insight on how much the requested budget will be cut? It is an Alzheimer’s grant with NIA as it’s primary (NINDS is secondary). Scientific review said to fund as requested, but I know there is usually a cut as some point in the process. The funding request is over the modular budget limit, but less than $500,000/year. I am also an early investor.

    • writedit said

      Most ICs try not to cut the budgets of ESI applicants (I assume that is what you meant), and this is especially true for ADRD proposals (which had full funding restored, from CR administrative cuts, for FY17). You should be okay, though you won’t know for sure until any negotiations start. If/when they start processing your application, you can ask if there will be any reductions in budget (would be 20% or less); if they indicate there will be a reduction, you can talk with your PO about the impact that would have and (if the cut still goes forward after you plead your case) strategize about what work to alter.

  159. Mika said

    Dear Folks, we resubmitted ro1 on last Feb cycle, most recently, a related manuscript has been accepted and today online, can i submit or add new publication to NIH proposal for review? how to process? contact PO or others

    • Teco said

    • writedit said

      Per the notice that Teco posted, you can send your SRO the citation information for your accepted paper (since it is available online, you could include a link – they don’t want PIs to send manuscript PDFs or other attachments – though reviewers should be able to find it online via the citation information, so the link isn’t critical), and the SRO will pass this along to your reviewers. All post-submission material must be received at least 30 days prior to the review date, but you are obviously well within that timing.

  160. LNS said

    I submitted a grant for Cycle I in Feb 2018. At first, I was excited about the omnibus spending bill that passed last month that increased NIH’s budget, but it sounds like that doesn’t actually have anything to do with FY19, which would fund grants reviewed in the 2018 Cycle I. Is that correct? I had no idea how much my career success would depend on politics when I went into this field…

    • writedit said

      Exactly. The standard submission applications that went in for Cycle 1 (Feb-March etc.) will be reviewed for funding in FY19. Due to mid-term elections, I don’t really expect to see a budget for FY19 until after the next Congress is sworn in (Jan) … how soon after depends on what happens with control of the House and Senate.

  161. redchannel said

    Thanks very much for this very informative blog. I received a 24 percentile for my R01 (NI but not ESI). The status was recently changed from ‘Council Review Completed’ to ‘Pending council review’, although the actual council meeting date is scheduled in May. What does this status change mean? Is it a good sign? Thanks a lot!

    • NIHblues said

      hi redchannel, in anticipation of writedit’s response, can you tell us which IC your application is considered for funding in?

      • redchannel said


        04/03/2018 Pending council review
        03/19/2018 Council review completed.
        02/16/2018 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.
        11/14/2017 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
        11/06/2017 Application entered into system

    • writedit said

      Hmm. The switch to Council review completed in advance of the Council meeting is a good sign, since that indicates your application was on a paylist of uncomplicated applications sent electronically for approval en bloc in advance of the actual meeting. No guarantee of funding, but just that Council approved them for consideration for an award, with final decisions up to the IC Director. However, the later switch back to Pending Council review could either mean that your application wasn’t on the list sent in advance of the Council meeting … or that it was flagged for discussion at the meeting in May …. or simply that someone jumped the gun in incorrectly changing the status to Council review completed (subsequently corrected). You can certainly ask your PO if your application was sent to Council for early electronic approval en bloc, but a better question (if you haven’t asked yet) would be if you should resubmit in July (or June, if that 24th percentile was an A1). If you wait until closer to May, your PO might have a better idea about funding likelihood, since the appropriation will be in by then.

    • Frank said

      Did your PO ask for rebuttal of critiques? I am wondering if a 24 percentile requires a rebuttal letter for PO to consider it.

  162. Newcomer said

    writeedit, thank you so much for maintaining this forum and your patience in addressing our questions. I’m wondering whether you have any insights regarding the Brain Initiative. I submitted an R01 last fall and received a score of 34 (ESI/NI) without a percentile. The primary institute is NIMH. I have received the Summary Statement and sent an email to the PO asking about the likelihood of funding. But haven’t received any reply yet.

    • writedit said

      I assume this was an RFA or PAR, in which case programmatic priority will play a significant role. Bad news usually travels faster than good news (ie, easy to quickly reply that your score won’t be competitive), though it could be your PO has just been too busy with a backlog of applications from two cycles to reply either way. If you don’t hear in a week or so, I would suggest you ask if you should plan to resubmit as a new R01 (or resubmission, if A1 applications are allowed and there is another submission date).

      • newcomer said

        writedit, thanks for your reply. Your book has been helping me tremendously in understanding the NIH system and policies. I have one puzzle that has not been resolved. Does the ESI “bonus” apply to all R01 applications (PA, PAR, PAS, RFA, and RFP)?

      • writedit said

        Not for RFPs, which are issued for contracts (not R01s), and not in the same sense for RFA or most PAR R01s, since percentile-based paylines don’t apply, though POs trying to decide between two strong applications might weigh in favor of the ESI. Very few PAS announcements these days, but they would be handled in a manner similar to RFA/PAR programs (qualified ESI likely to get extra consideration but not a specific “payline” break). However, Definitely for PAs (parent and otherwise), though. ICs don’t need to give ESI applicants a specific payline break (NGRI has not been formalized or implemented), though most do to ensure they meet the target proportion of awards to ESI vs established investigators.

      • newcomer said

        writedit, as I posted earlier, my R01 (NIMH) received a score of 34 (RFA, no percentile, ESI/NI). I sent my response to the Summary Statement to the PO and the PO replied saying that “the response will be reviewed next week and will get back to you if there are any suggested changes”. The council meeting date is 2018/05. Do you have any insight regarding what is happening behind the scenes? What kinds of changes they may suggest?

      • writedit said

        ICs have internal meetings to discuss scored applications and rank order them by score and programmatic priority. I am unclear as to whether your PO is referring to possible changes in your rebuttal or your application (eg, adjusting or dropping an aim), but I think this sounds positive. The RFA POs need to decide which applications to send to Council for review, which is why this discussion is happening before the May meeting.

      • Newcomer said

        Writedit, the current status of my R01, based on PO’s email, is “Recommended for funding”. Grant management specialist already asked for JIT and I have submitted it more than one month ago. I’m trying to figure out what is going to happen next. Should I expect to see my eRA common’s status change from “Concile review completed” to “pending”? Is there possibility that the Notice of Award been given without the eRA status been changed to “pending” first?

      • writedit said

        No, your eRA status will change throughout the administrative process leading to an award. You just need to be patient – the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly, so it can take weeks to months. Eventually your status will change to Pending or Pending administrative review. If you had a July 1 start date, don’t worry – that’s not an expiration date. Your award can have any start day (before Sept 30). You are within 30 days of award, if your institution will allow you to set up an account for pre-spending (before NoA issued).

  163. Elizabeth Brooke Riley said

    I was sent here for advice by some acquaintances… I got a score of 24 on my F32 (institute: NIA) on March 12th and the summary statement was very positive, saying things like “the proposal generates strong enthusiasm”. It took me 3 weeks to get in touch with my PO (I think she’s ultra-busy) but she didn’t tell me anything except that she couldn’t make any guarantees. The payline for NIA fellowships has been between 26 and 31 for the last few years, and the new congressional budget is better than it has been, so it seems unlikely that the payline will go down. Also, my proposal was categorized as Alzheimer’s-related, and the payline for AD-related research was *40* last year (and again, even more was allocated for AD research in the latest budget). So it seems like it should be fundable, but if so, I can’t figure out why my PO didn’t give me even the slightest positive sign. The council meeting is in May but I guess I won’t even know by then?

    • writedit said

      Nothing is guaranteed until the NoA is sent, so your PO is just being very conservative and careful (and absolutely correct in saying she couldn’t make any guarantees). Clearly your score is competitive, and your topic is a programmatic priority, which certainly bodes well for an eventual award, but perhaps your PO has seen enough black swan events to avoid giving anyone a hint of funding likelihood. Fellowships do not go to Council but are decided within the IC. NIA has not issued any new F32 awards for FY18, so there is a huge backlog to take care of once the NIH appropriation makes its way to individual ICs (probably not until late April or early May). You can probably expect to hear something in May, and I would expect it to be good news (though, as always, no guarantees).

      • Elizabeth Brooke Riley said

        Thanks very much for your response. I didn’t realize that NIA hadn’t awarded any fellowships this year. In my email to my PO, I offered to provide a response to the critiques in my summary statement and she wrote me back this morning asking me to send it by TOMORROW! There must be some reason why she wants it by tomorrow, but I’m not sure what. Hopefully I can pull together something reassuring. I hadn’t even begun to do this because when I asked my PIs about it, they said they’d never heard of such a practice and that it was unnecessary.

      • writedit said

        Well, this probably is news to well-established PIs, who didn’t submit such rebuttals, since ICs are increasingly discussing applications in-house, especially with so many on the edge the payline – which yours is not (or shouldn’t be). I am surprised you need a rebuttal with your score, but it is not necessarily bad news (might now be part of the formality). If you cover any concerns raised in the Resume and Summary of Discussion, since these are concerns you know the entire panel shared(& the SRO felt were important to highlight), you should be fine. Any concerns raised by individual reviewers not mentioned in the discussion were probably resolved during the discussion so don’t need to be addressed (especially if you are short on time).

      • Elizabeth Brooke Riley said

        The last sentence is “The training potential of the proposed work is very high and, despite some minor concerns regarding the research plan, the application overall generates strong enthusiasm.”

        That’s the only criticism – every other sentence is about how great it is. I addressed the 4 concerns mentioned in the entire document by individual reviewers except the one about me not having enough papers ’cause there’s nothing I can do about that! Fingers crossed…

      • writedit said

        No criticisms to address is a good problem to have. Good luck (though clearly your qualifications rather than luck are going to carry the day here).

      • Elizabeth Brooke Riley said

        Thanks very much for your kind advice. The NIH really has its own bewildering culture and sometimes a guide is needed!

      • Elizabeth Brooke Riley said

        The paylines have finally been published and it’s 32 for AD-related fellowships, so my 24 should be safe. But my eRA Commons account still says the same thing (SRG Review Completed) and I haven’t gotten a response from my PO (I emailed asking if I could expect an award). I know it’s possible my grant won’t be funded despite being well under the payline… but how likely is it? Should I be worried that nobody contacted me?

      • writedit said

        No need to be worried – the change in status requires human intervention (not automatic upon publishing paylines), which will occur when they start processing your application. If you don’t hear anything by late June, you could check in with your PO. The ICs are probably still a bit backed up from the FY18 appropriation being so late, so you should assume any delays are due to workload backlog rather than any potentially worrisome cause.

    • Keith said

      Many POs tend to be very conservative not give any false hope. It happen to me last time when I got 2% the PO told me that you have a good chance instead of yes definitely. To them, nothing is guaranteed until NOA is issued.

  164. Kelly said

    What a wonderful resource. Thank you for maintaining this. We just got our R43 scores back from NIGMS. Our impact score was 23. Any thoughts on our chances of being funded (high, medium, low) right now with this score?

    • writedit said

      Congratulations – that should be competitive for an R43. When you get your summary statement, you can check in with your PO about next steps (does he/she need a rebuttal to the review … should you prepare to resubmit?). Your PO won’t be able to guarantee anything, but they can give guidance (and perhaps be willing to give some insight on funding likelihood itself).

  165. Kelly said

    Here is the information in my status: Status: Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.

  166. Mika said

    Dear folks, MY MD & pHD student F30 impact score 30 and percentile 33…..NCI, do we have a good chance of being funded? Thanks


    • writedit said

      This seems like a potentially fundable score, but I don’t know, so hopefully someone with F30 experience at NCI will chime in. Some ICs fund at or above the 30th percentile (NHLBI, NICHD), while others are lower (NIA, NIAMS), but it depends on the application load at NCI. When your student’s summary statement comes in, you can check with the PO about funding likelihood and whether to resubmit (I expect that may be the advice, as insurance, but you have plenty of time to wait for funding clarity).

  167. Mika said

    Thank writedit very much,

  168. Tkong said

    Dear Writedit,
    Does NINR have a payline? My R21 responding to a NINR PA received a score of 41 from a special emphasis panel. Does it make sense to ask the PO whether there is any chance, or, with such a score, i should just prepare for re-submission? Thank you very much!

    • writedit said

      You should plan on a resubmission, but after you receive your summary statement, you should still talk with the PO about the score, about NINR interest in your research, and about strategies for resubmission.

      • Tkong said

        Thanks so much for the advice!

  169. Adrian said

    Dear Writeedit,

    One of my R21s got an impact score of 29 (less than two years ago) but was not funded when the impact score went down to 26 at NIAID. The impact score right now is 32 for NIAID. Does it make sense to ask the PO about the status of this application?
    Thank you!

    • writedit said

      No – although it is technically still active in eRA Commons, no IC will go back that far to pick up an application unless your PO was very interested in the science (and in that case, would have tried to get the 29 funded that same FY). By now, though, especially for an R21, the PO will assume the field has moved on – and that you have done the work proposed (if not, then he might wonder if the work was really significant).

  170. Mike said

    Dear Writeedit,

    My phase 1 STTR was re-submitted to NIBIB and received an impact score of 24. I haven’t spoken with the PO yet, but the comments on the summary statement are very positive and most weaknesses are noted as not significant. Further, our summary of discussion notes that “reviewers reached agreement that the project would have a high and significant impact on the field.”

    Does anybody have experience with STTRs from NIBIB, and can offer insight into the odds of us getting funded? Thanks!

    • writedit said

      Although STTRs are more competitive than SBIRs, that score should at least be discussable internally. You should certainly check in with the PO – if you have any updates on your project since the submission/review (new data, publication, abstract, etc.), you can mention this, too. Overall, though, since this is a resubmission, I assume it is of programmatic interest, and now the score should identify it as meritorious as well.

  171. Ki said

    Hi Writedit,
    Thanks for maintaining this wonderful resource!
    I have a question that is not really about getting a grant, but I hope maybe you can help me out here. My grant has a requirement of 51% total effort. Does NIH care how I break the effort between the academic year and the summer? The overall research effort is going to be the same. What I switch the effort in the middle of the grant period? My GMS does not respond to e-mails and my grants officer here is ambivalent.

    • writedit said

      As long as your total effort is the same, and you can accomplish the proposed aims, you should be fine. All reporting is annual (not broken down by quarter or month). I am not sure what you mean about changing effort in the middle of the grant period. You need permission to make a significant change in total effort from year to year (and I assume the 51% effort is specific to the funding mechanism – you can check the NoA for any terms that might restrict a change). If it is a special award and you have any concerns, you can also check with the PO for general guidance.

      • Ki said

        Thank you, Writedit! That’s what I thought. By “changing in the middle of the grant period” I meant we originally planned one ratio between academic and summer months, but opted for the another at the end. The total effort is the same either way.

      • Kelly said

        Ki, if you you are the PI on an SBIR grant, you need to be 51% with the small business for the “entire duration of the award.” Even 50% with another organization (or university) is in violation of this. For example, you be employed 50% with during the academic year and 100% during the summer to meet the 51% requirement for SBIR. See more about this here:

  172. tetramerv7 said

    What are the chances that NCI will go up to 11% on R01s

    • writedit said

      Not sure, but I wouldn’t count on it … they should have a final payline in a few weeks, and of course there will be select pay above wherever the final payline ends up.

      • GG said

        Dear WriteEdit,

        Received a K08 impact score of 20 from NIAID. Interim paylines for K’s on NIAID website is an 18. Do you my grant has a chance of getting funded?

      • writedit said

        Hard to say. Last year, the payline stayed at 18, but in previous years, it got up to 20 or above. It depends on the number of applications and their scoring range and the K mechanism appropriation. The final paylines should be out in May, which would give you time to resubmit in July (or look at switching to an RPG application).

    • Keith said

      On the same boat. Hope that the payline will go up slightly from last year. According to Dr. Sharpless, there will be a big boost to the RPG pool, which is good news , but he also said that the priority is to fund non-competing projects at 100%, which is bad news for new grants. In any case, nobody will know for sure until the actual payline is published.

      • writedit said

        Yes, Congress likes to see R01s funded (it’s their benchmark), but since ICs don’t know what will happen to the budget in the next few years (once the reality of a $1T deficit sets in), they hesitate to take on substantial long-term commitment that may require reductions in noncompeting budgets and the number of new/competing renewal awards in future years if there is a significant budget cut.

      • Keith said

        NIAID already raised their payline by 4 points. There is always more drama going on at NCI.

  173. Finger_Crossed said

    Dear WritEdit,
    Same story here, I got my K01 score of 20 from NIA. Last year NIA closed with 22 for career grants. Currently interim pay line for K grants are 17. Do you think, NIA will have the same pay lines this year?

    • writedit said

      There is a reasonable chance, since they have gotten to 19 or 20 in recent years (and 22 last year). It really depends on the number of competitively scoring applications, since that will determine how far the career development portion of their appropriation can be spread. If you don’t have an update by early-mid May, you can probably check in with your PO for an update (especially if you need advice on resubmitting in July.

  174. UICAlchemist said

    I find this blog very useful and wanted to provide some of my data to add to the pool. I received a NoA for my R01. Here is the timeline with pertinent information. Happy hunting

    04/13/2018 NoA received (12:03 AM), Commons status changed to “Application awarded.” (Project start date: 04/15/2018)

    04/05/2018 Commons status changed to “Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.”

    03/09/2018 JIT submitted.

    02/27/2018 Grants Management Specialist sends email request for JIT.

    02/15/2018 Commons status changed to “Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.”

    02/14/2018 PO email response “Yes, if you have ESI status there’s a very good chance your application will be funded.” (NOTE: this was the 1st positive news I received.)

    02/14/2018 Email inquiry to PO regarding updated paylines.

    02/14/2018 NIA blog publishes “we are now paying AD/ADRD percentiled research grant applications …. early-stage investigators: 23rd percentile…. You may expect an award if your application scored within these percentiles”


    10/04/2017 PO email response “Pay line will depend on availability of funds and therefore an FY18 budget allocation from the Congress. Regarding your application no issues were raised at Council.”

    10/04/2017 Email inquiry to PO inquiring if anything was identified at council that would prohibit the proposal from being funded? (what I was really trying to ask here was, ‘Must I resubmit or send a rebuttal?’)

    09/09/2017 Commons status changed to “Council review completed.”
    (NOTE: council held on 09/26/2018)

    07/10/2017 Summary Statement available. 1st email inquiry to PO. No indication of likelihood. PO indicates there are some issues which could be addressed in a resubmission. PO suggests resubmission as safest option. NOTE: I did not take this advice, score was 12 % below FY17 payline and climate in Washington is currently very supportive of funding ADRD research. According to FY17 ESI payline this application would have probably been funded without being ADRD. If my score was 25 % or above I would have probably resubmitted.

    07/05/2017 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official. Changed around midnight

    07/05/2017 Score Posted ~2:30 pm, 21st percentile, Impact Score 48 (ESI, ADRD)

    06/30/2017 Study Section Meeting (DDNS)

    02/14/2017 Commons status changed to: “Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.”

    02/06/2017 A0 application entered into system (primary institute: NIA)

    • writedit said

      Woohoo! Congratulations (finally!) and thank you so much for such a detailed timeline – and all your input and updates over the last several months. Lots of great insight here, from timing of actions (slower than most people probably expect) and fundability of high impact score (and percentile, in right context). Best wishes for success with your research.

    • Frank said

      DDNS is tough. They really have a huge score range. I wonder why the PO did not ask for a rebuttal at the first time.

  175. canucut said

    Thank you very much for the helpful advice earlier. To update: we’ve found out that our application will be recommended for funding when it is sent to council. Is this basically a confirmation of funding? My understanding is that council won’t deny funding as long everything is in place (animal and human studies documents are appropriate, budget is okay, etc).

    • writedit said

      Not necessarily, since Council only gives the IC Director permission to consider applications approved by Council for funding – and Council approves many more applications than the IC can afford to fund. The IC Director makes final funding decisions, not Council. Essentially, your application is on the paylist sent to Council for approval, and hopefully your application will come up for consideration while there is still $ available (and again, I think it likely this will be the case). Now, if your PO made a general comment about it being recommended for funding (other than in relation to Council), then he/she could be indicating that your application has been earmarked for funding internally. If your PO has not recommended that you prepare another application for submission, then you can be even more confident. You’ll know for sure when (if) you get a direct (from PO or GMS vs eRA Commons) JIT request, which can come before or after the Council meeting. The administrative review that you mention below happens when JIT is submitted (not part of Council consideration).

      • Mike said

        Thank you. One item I forgot to mention was that when we were told the application would be recommended for funding, the coordinator at our institute had already reviewed the new budget. So, I’d like to be hopeful and think that they have an idea of what will and won’t be funded, but that may not be accurate.

      • writedit said

        Aha – if they reviewed your JIT, then your likelihood goes up.

      • Mike said

        Sorry for the confusion; the coordinator we spoke to at the institute we applied to said the institute had received their yearly budget (presumably from the NIH?), and that he was finalizing funding plans for the year. He followed up a week or so later saying our application would be recommended for funding, presumably after he had reviewed the institute funding plans. We have not yet received any JIT requests.

  176. kate said

    My R21 received 7th in Dec 201. 7All I heard so far is that the pay line for R21 is 6th. As mentioned in the previous blog, the priority of this year is to fund non-competing projects at 100%. The new grants may not be benefit from the budget increase. I have sent four emails to PO without any response. I am wondering if I still have chance to be funded at the end of this year even if the NCI stand at 6th for R21.

    • john chandler said

      Pls pardon my naivety – what is a non-competing project? Aren’t all continuations already accounted for in the budget and would be first priority anyway?

      • writedit said

        Yes, ICs pay out the noncompeting renewals (ie, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th years of an award, depending on the mechanism, time remaining, etc.), but they can cut the budgets of these noncompeting awards up to 25% if their appropriation has been reduced below what they requested (and tentatively budgeted for). All ICs cut all awards during a continuing resolution, though once the federal budget passes, most if not all of this cut is restored. In especially lean years (eg, when the sequester was enforced), the noncompeting awards have their budgets cut (even below the level approved by the study section) so the IC can fund sufficient new applications. In recent years, there has generally been a small cut in all grant budgets (or at best, no increase to account for inflation, which is essentially a cut as well) due to a flat budget.

  177. Klgequine said

    Hello. I love this blog and recommend it to everyone I know. I finally have information to contribute. I just found out from my NINDS PO that the FY18 payline is 15 percentile. My MPI R01 was scored at 15 percentile so the PO said no need to resubmit! Hopefully, this is good news for others too. I have no idea what this means for ESI but traditionally, they usually give a 10 point advantage.

    • writedit said

      Thank you for sharing this great intel – and congrats on your R01! Best wishes for success with your research.

  178. Hopeful said

    Klgeguine, congratulations!!! Did your PO specifically say that the payline at NINDS is 15 percentile for FY18? My grant also scored at 15 percentile (at NINDS), but my PO asked me to resubmit (i am not a new or ESI)! but this was based on conversation about 2 weeks ago. Please let me know and I can finally breathe a sigh of relief!

    • Klgequine said

      The PO emailed on 4/16: “NINDS has set the FY18 pay line at the 15th percentile.” We inquired a couple weeks ago and had not heard a thing until now. My guess is that your PO did not know what the pay line would be. It may not hurt to ask again.

      • JIM said

        Thank you for sharing this information. I have been waiting to know what is the pay line of NINDS for FY18.

  179. ken said

    Hi, my F32 started April 1st 2017. I will be terminating and starting a new job May 1st 2018. Last day on Fellowship is April 30, 2018. Since I am in my 13th month, does this mean that I do not incur payback obligation? Thank you!

    • writedit said

      You would owe the other 11 months still (if you had completed your second year, that would have covered your first year). Your 13th month just serves as the start of payback, not fulfilling payback in its entirety.

      • Jake said


        It seems I’m in a similar situation, and I wanted to make sure I’m clear on your answer. I have an F31 (12months requested) that I will be terminating early (9months in). My PI and I will not owe anything or have to pay penalty for ending the training grant early, correct?

        Thank you for all your help.

      • writedit said

        You should talk with your GMS or PO. I do not know of any penalty for stopping early, but I am not a grants management expert. The payback will be in proportion to the number of months you received NRSA support. If you are saying that you received a total of 9 months of F31 funding, then you will have 9 months of payback (which you will fulfill with your postdoctoral training, assuming that is where you are headed next). Now, if you mean you are 9 months into your second year, then you would only have 3 months of pay back left (again, easily handled with your postdoc training).

  180. ESI said

    Hi Writedit,

    I learned a lot from this blog. PO just requested JIT last week. The council meeting of NIGMS is at the end of May. How much chance to win the R01 if PO requested JIT?

    • writedit said

      Very likely, since they do not request JIT unless they are processing an application for an award, but it is not a guarantee (pending what is found during the administrative review and any unexpected emergencies at the IC, both unlikely though).

  181. clueless noob said

    Hi Writedit, I’m wondering if you can shed some light on some unusual post-review activity in Commons. I submitted an R21 to an RFA late last year; it was reviewed and not discussed. After the summary statement was released, I received a new “Application assigned to Study section” email. In Commons, the proposal now has a new application ID from a different institute (NCCIH), and there is no longer a PO assigned. This has never happened before with my many, many not-discussed applications. Can an application get re-reviewed by a different IC?

    • SaG said

      That is weird. You might try and contact the old PO assigned to it. Maybe someone made a mistake. The only other possibility I can think of (and don’t get your hopes up) is that NCCIH was secondary on the app and had to transferred because it wants to consider funding it. That rarely happens especially with ND apps. Did you submit an A1 version?

      • clueless noob said

        The summary statement arrived earlier this week, too late for a standard R21 resubmission. The old PO hasn’t responded since the update but we’d just set up a time to talk about resubmission plans. NCCIH was not secondary. I think as a matter of policy an application can’t be funded unless it’s been scored by a study section — even my most optimistic take is that the institute saw some keywords that they liked and is going to re-review the application with their cycle 1 submissions. It’s just… weird.

      • writedit said

        Okay – I am glad SaG replied with no clue as to what is happening, because I don’t know either and expect it is just an electronic management mistake (instead of changing to Council review pending, you got sent back to the SRG setting). You might check with eRA Commons, too. Hopefully your PO will have good input for the next submission.

      • SaG said

        Technically if an ND app is brought to Council it can be funded. It is rare but happens several times a year across NIH. Not sure you can re-review an app though unless there was a problem with the first review. I’d be interested to know what happened if you ever find out.

  182. ESI said

    Dear writedit, I am just back from AACR where the NCI Director spoke about funding set aside for ESI R01’s, as he stated “about 25% more ESI grants”. Any input from your sources on how (and how soon) this will play out? Presumably this must be a mature-ish policy if the Director is prepared to reveal it at this high-profile forum. Thanks as always.

    • writedit said

      This is not a policy so much as a commitment to fund ~25% more ESI applications than in FY17. This is not funding to the 25th percentile (which a lot of people still think will happen). In FY16, this would have meant ~21 additional ESI awards, which would have picked up just about all the ESI applications through the 18th percentile (see What rough threshold percentile this might mean for FY18 will depend on the number of competitively scored applications and the actual appropriation for ESI awards – and I suspect a bit more programmatic priority than strictly payline based factors will be used in picking the extra awards. Anyway, this expanded ESI pool of awards will begin as soon as NCI works out its final appropriation and starts catching up on the backlog of applications from the first two cycles (full implementation after the June NCAB meeting).

      • jplni said

        Dear Writedit–As a quick follow-up question, would you happen to know what commitment NCI has made to funding new investigators (NIs)? There is substantial overlap between NI and ESI status, but not always. Thanks much.

      • writedit said

        I do not know, but at least one IC dropped the NI designation in the last FY, so it is possible NCI is considering this as well – but I suspect they will likely keep the intermediate payline for NI and continue to scrutinize PI background to avoid giving payline breaks to more senior/established investigators who are simply new to NIH funding (e.g., previously intramural NIH scientists, scientists moving from other countries to the US or from industry to academia, PIs with other funding sources (HHMI, DoD, large foundation, etc.).

  183. U)NCI said

    Is there any chance that 9% (NI R01 application) get funding at NCI? Thanks in advance.

    • writedit said

      Since NCI had a 10 percentile payline for NI in FY17 (and funded most R01s from all PIs up through the 10th, though sometimes with extra review for programmatic priority etc.), I think you can feel pretty confident with a 9th percentile application. Is this the resubmission of your U01 (described previously), or a different R01?

  184. U)NCI said

    Thanks for reply. Yeah, it is resubmission of my previous grant. Hope this time it would go through.

    • NewR01 said

      Did anyone submit rebuttal to PO but didn’t get funded? I am trying to figure out the possibility of funding if PO request a rebuttal. Thanks.

      • writedit said

        It’s not like JIT, which pretty much indicates the IC is processing your application for a possible award. The rebuttal helps the PO make a case for funding your application during internal discussions before applications are considered/ranked for funding, but this does not mean everyone will be convinced that your application is of programmatic priority (or that there will be enough $ to stretch). Also, if the PO does not need any help making a case (or if there doesn’t really need to be a discussion of your application), then he/she won’t ask for a rebuttal (ie, not being asked for a rebuttal with a competitive score does not portend doom).

    • ESI said

      my 2 cents input: PO told me a couple of months ago about the process. He said at the time close to the council meeting, he may request a rebuttal letter to present to the council. My understanding is that JIT occurs earlier and rebuttal letter request occurs latter for a possible fund. Maybe I am wrong about it?

      • writedit said

        Your PO was probably talking about making a case for the application with the IC leadership (internal), not the Advisory Council. Only special case applications are discussed at Council meetings, such as those with foreign PIs, well-funded PIs, etc. However, these internal discussions do occur around the time of the Council meeting, so that might be what your PO meant. Also, because ICs do not want to expend time and resources on applications they may not fund, they generally would not ask for JIT before deciding whether to fund an application not clearly within the payline.

      • SaG said

        Except for NIGMS. They request JITs for all reasonably possible funds because they take their $750K policy seriously, and they need the JIT to see other support. Mostly they want to know if the PI has any other support or not.

  185. JIM said

    NINDS just released their R01 payline for FY18. Unsolicited, investigator-initiated grants: NINDS plans to fund investigator-initiated grant applications in percentile rank order up to a 15th percentile payline. NINDS will fund additional R01 applications from early stage investigators with scores below the 25th percentile.

    • writedit said

      Thanks for sharing this formal update (as follow-up to tip last week from Klgequine). Just so folks are clear, there is not a hard 25th percentile ESI payline … ESI R01 applications up to the 25th percentile will be considered (not guaranteed) for funding.

  186. U)NCI said

    What would be NCI Payline for FY2018?

    • writedit said

      We should know in a few weeks, but certainly no worse than FY17.

      • kate said

        Dear Dr. Writedit,

        If no worse than FY17, why my R21 (7th percentile) is not considered for fund.
        The pay line of FY2017 for R21 is 7% in NCI. My PO sent me an email that the NCI currently only fund R21 up to 6th percentile.

        Is there any update?
        Thank you


      • writedit said

        Wow – that is surprising. I have to assume they have a huge number of competitively scored R21s (probably because study sections they realize they need to get the scores within the 7th percentile for the application to have a chance for funding), which would push the payline down if the money allocated is about the same … and/or they have a lot more Moonshot obligations than last year. How long ago did your PO email you? If a month or more ago, then hopefully you’ll have a positive update in May. If within the last week or two, then I am not sure what to tell you other than to ask your PO if your science is of interest to NCI and, if so, should you expand your proposal for an R01 application.

  187. SG said

    Is there any chance that 11% (R01 application) get funding at NCI?

    • writedit said

      Always a chance, even better if you are NI or ESI. You can touch base with your PO to see if a rebuttal or any other information might be helpful.

  188. john chandler said

    I have an off-topic question mostly curiosity – do program officers have access to the grants that are submitted? Are POs likely to talk about possible interest in grants that pending review that are not assigned to their institute? I once had a PO indicate that they couldn’t (even though the topic was interesting for their portfolio) but I didn’t understand why.

    • writedit said

      These are two somewhat different situations. I do not know if POs can access applications not assigned to their IC for review, but they have no reason to, since the PO at the primary IC and then those at any secondary ICs have confirmed an interest in the application, whereas any non-assigned IC has not (that IC may have been asked & turned down the application). More importantly, though, POs do not have time to go look for applications not assigned to them (so they don’t know about applications pending review not assigned to them – and therefore don’t talk about “the one that got away”).

      The PI should be doing that work at the front end – finding the right PO/IC for the application before, not after, submission. The potentially interested but unassigned PO will take a look if/when the PI comes back with an application to resubmit, not while it’s sitting at another IC. Now, if the PI does not receive the expected IC assignment (especially if requested in the application), this needs to be addressed with CSR at the time of referral.

      • SaG said

        Yes, POs can see all of the grants pending review as well as grants (funded and unfunded) that go back many years/decades, Not sure why you would want to unless you wanted to 1) see the previous submission history of a PI or 2) If they similar work pending funding by another Institute or 3) curious about how successful/unsuccessful certain areas of science have been at review.

  189. jason park said

    I have a question regarding no-cost extensions. I have money left in my R00 which was rolled over from previous years. Basically, there was a year in which I couldn’t spend all the money b/c of change of institutions. I will like to request a NCE. My question is – (assuming that I can request a NCE), will the NCE amount be the left over just of year 3 or will it include the total amount unspent? I hope I am making sense. I thought I will ask for advice before I contact them.

    • writedit said

      What you haven’t spent in prior years keeps getting carried over, so the NCE will apply to all the funds that are left unspent. Your university Signing Official (someone in sponsored programs or grants administration) will submit the request electronically via eRA Commons for you within 90 days of your project period end date (needs to happen before the project end date). There should be an internal form (paper or online) you will need to complete for this NCE request to be processed, so check with your grants administrator.

      • jason park said

        My grants admin came back with – “Please provide information as to why a no-cost extension is needed for this project. Note that a no-cost extension may not be requested merely to use unspent funds.” I am not sure if this is for internal use or will it get sent to the NIH.

        I will basically like to continue/finish the work that was outlined. Does anyone have experience/advice on how to make the case? How long does the write up have to be? Should I be providing details of experiments – the scope of work is already outlined in the grant. I am nervous. I wonder if these requests get denied. Also, should I let my PO know that I will be requesting a NCE?

      • writedit said

        You should be able to indicate which Aims you need to continue working on. If there were delays early on in getting approvals, ordering supplies, quarantined animals, slow recruitment, etc. that delayed the start/completion of some of your work, you can note the cause of the delay and state that you are using the funds in NCE to complete the work as proposed. The NIH just wants to be sure you didn’t complete all your aims with less money and now you want that extra $ to do additional or different experiments. You shouldn’t need to go into much detail, though you can check with your PO to be sure.

  190. kate said

    Dear Writedit,
    Thank you so much for your reply. I sent emails five times to PO before and after FY2018 budget passed. PO only replied my email once at early March. I was told that up to 6th R21s was considered for funding. Hopefully, like you said, there may be an update in May. 7th percentile R21s may be also considered for funding.

    At this point, I do not think the hard pay line of NCI have been released. Is it right?

    • writedit said

      No, the NCI has not updated its funding policy and probably won’t until after the May Council meeting. Writing to the PO five times with the same question is probably a bit much, so I wouldn’t suggest you ask about paylines again. Because it would be difficult to improve a 7th percentile score, you might consider whether to revise the R21 as an R01 for submission in June or October.

  191. confused said

    Dear Writedit,
    Any thoughts on when NIA will release their paylines? Is it reasonable to ask PO now on potential funding possibility for my ESI R01 that scored at the 17th percentile? Would PO know at this stage?
    Many thanks!

    • confused said

      and it was not ADRD application….

    • writedit said

      You should wait until you have your summary statement to talk with the PO, but I can’t imagine them not funding a 17th percentile ESI application (even not ADRD) based on last year’s final paylines (you are almost within last year’s initial conservative payline). If you have your summary statement and also want to ask about whether you should be considering resubmission in July or November, then you could contact your PO now (if PO says to hold off on resubmission, then you know you are likely to be within the final payline). Your PO may not have a definite payline update until after the May 22-23 NACA meeting though.

      • confused said

        Many thanks! The application has been marked as Council review completed since January and I have been advised to resubmit so that I am ready for all possible outcomes.

  192. said

    I was wondering what this situation indicated. I have a Fast-Track SBIR application that was submitted to Office of the Director (OD). The application received an impact score of 20 (reviewed Mar 15 2018). We already received an automated request for JIT based on the score (but not a request from the PO).

    The council is set to meet on 5/18 according to the Commons, however, the status changed to “Council Review Completed” on 4/26 (before they even meet). Does this mean anything?

    • writedit said

      It means your SBIR was on the list of applications sent to Council in advance of the formal meeting for electronic approval en bloc. This means that your application can be considered for funding by whomever would make the final decision for an OD SBIR (maybe Collins, maybe a Director-designate … it’s usually the IC Director). Being on this list is not a guarantee of funding, but it means you are on the paylist. You could check with your PO for an update on where you are rank ordered for funding and whether he/she needs any additional information from you. A direct JIT request would indicate their intention to fund your application, barring any problems discovered during the administrative review.

  193. Lan Zhou said

    Dear Dr Writedit,

    What is the chance of 9% (R01 application) get funding at NCI? My PO responded today that I should resubmit since she cannot confirm if my grant will be funded within the division. I submitted to NIDDK first but was transferred to NCI. I have NIAID as my secondary. Is there a chance for NIAID to pick up the grant (their payline is 13%)?

    Many thanks

    • writedit said

      Possibly. You would need to confirm the PO at NIAID is interested and then have the NCI PO relinquish the application. If you don’t have a PO at NIAID (and no one is listed in eRA Commons), you could ask your NCI PO for a referral at NIAID, explaining that you want to see if NIAID would pick up your application if NCI does not fund it.

      • Lan Zhou said


    • Wonder said

      Dear Dr. Writedit: I am just curious … if the 9 percentile proposals need to be revised/resubmitted, does it mean that the 2018 NCI payline is 8 percentile (which is much lower than 2017’s 10 percentile)? Given that NCI receives more $ in 2018, can we assume that the payline will be increased?

      • SaG said

        In that case I think the PO is being cautious. They might fund it they might not. The payline might go up it might not. But, they won’t know until after the July resubmission deadline.

      • writedit said

        What SaG said … also, the number of competitively scored R01s may have gone up (as study sections realize they need to keep lowering the scores assigned to NCI applications they are excited about), and even though NCI will get more money in FY18, it does not know if that largess will continue in FY19, FY20, FY21, and FY22. In fact, it probably won’t, given the realities of the federal budget (ie, $1T annual deficit). No IC wants to spend all the extra money received in FY18 on lots of extra awards that will last 4-5 years, since that could mean the number of new awards they can make in FY21 & FY22 would drop (if appropriation is flat or cut, since they need to meet prior obligations before funding new/renewal applications). I’ve already seen ICs posting notices about administrative supplements for FY18, which is where a chunk of the extra appropriation will go (one-time spending vs long-term obligations). Plus, some of NCI’s extra FY18 $ is appropriated to cover moonshot and and other special programs that Congress is monitoring.

  194. GBS said

    When the program officers of NCI do know not yet what is going to happen in 2018, therefore it is better not to guess…BTW moonshot budget comes from different source.

    • Anxe said

      You are absolutely wright. For 2018, NCI has received additional $275 million. Moonshot has totally different budget. For that, NCI has received additional $300 million (on top of $275 million). Moonshot budget has no connection with the regular budget increase. So, when program officers do not know, it is better not to guess anything. However, NIH/NCI has received a historic increase this year (since 2003). Also, there was significant increase in last two years (2016, 2017), and during both these years, the payline was 10 percentile.

    • writedit said

      Yes, from the 21st Century Cures Act funding, but some folks might assume the extra ~$300M (in cancer moonshot funding) will benefit NCI paylines overall.

      • Anxe said

        Yes, I understand that. So, apart from that $300 million (moonshot), NCI has has received extra $275 million this year on top of 2017. As I mentioned, this is a historic increase ($275 million) since 2003. Also, NCI got significant increase in last two years. Thus, it is very hard to expect a payline cut in 2018 from 10 percentile (even though there are increased number of applications). Also, I am curious to know, what would have happened, if NCI had a flat budget this year 🙂

  195. GBS said

    Also the NCI Director in his official twitter two weeks back had mentioned that he has assigned 100 million dollar more to the RPG and this the highest increase to RPG in NCI since 2003. Therefore let us all wait and not guess till the final payline of NCI is published.

  196. GBS said

    Also funding payline is not assigned based on future budget projection. If the budget is cut, then the payline will be reduced that year. However, the chances of NIH budget cut is slim because both Republicans and Democrats support NIH.

    • bgrantsdaya said

      What GBS is saying makes sense… I know this thought mentioned by writedit (who I am deeply thankful for and respect a lot) earlier that NCI thinks that if they fund more RO1’s now… what if they miss good science in the future. But on the same token what is the surety that missing good science now will allow NCI to get better science in future. It is like missing a bird in hand and thinking of the upcoming two birds in the sky. We never can guess about politics so why think negatively always and kill the current science based on the projection.

  197. writedit said

    Which is why I first and primarily agreed with SaG: PO is being cautious due to lack of clarity right now, and payline could well go up, but PO doesn’t know if/when and doesn’t want to put the PI at risk of missing a resubmission opportunity. I still expect as paylines as good or better than FY17, but I also suspect some PIs have unrealistic expectations as to what will happen with paylines across the board (at all ICs, not just NCI), which is why I laid out a few other possible factors.

  198. Shannon said

    Why does the NCI still not have an R01 payline when the NIAID announced 3 weeks ago an R01 payline of 15% (up from 9% in 2017)? It seems the NIAID officials are much more organized than NCI officials in terms of letting investigators know whether they are likely to get funded in 2018.

    • Keith said

      Good question. I wish NCI could be more transparent with their policies, more towards the investigators and less on their own agenda.

      • K99 applicant said

        I am wondering when is the council meeting of NCI? Is it on May 16 or in the end of June?

      • writedit said

        The May 16 meeting is a single-day joint session with NIAAA/NIDA, so discussion of applications will wait until the June 25-27 meeting (joint NCAB & BSA meeting). However, NCI might (might – no guarantees!) have a payline update later in May, since their appropriation will be in hand, and they will have a better idea of where the funding will flow.

      • R21 said

        Do you have an idea what will be discussed at this 5/16 meeting? I have an R21 A0 at NIAAA, reviewed last October, that seems to be on the edge of possible funding and I keep hoping there will be an increased budget and the grant will get funded. I resubmitted an A1 in February, but still hopeful on the A0.

      • writedit said

        No NIAAA or NIDA applications will be discussed either. It is a one-day meeting with award presentations, program updates, and other non-grant-related discussions. However, the NIAAA Council meets on May 15, and this is when grant applications will be discussed (after which NIAAA will rank applications and have an idea about paylines, even if they aren’t shared publicly).

    • writedit said

      Each IC is semi-autonomous and has its own procedures and culture. NCI does share some paylines – many ICs do not post any paylines at any time in the FY. Not an answer to your question other than to note that NIAID is very different from NCI … and from NIGMS … and from NIDDK … and so on.

  199. DJ said


    I received an impact score of 20 on my K99 A0 application to NIMHD on March 5, 2018. NIMHD doesn’t have paylines, so I wasn’t sure how my application placed. After I first received my score, I contacted my PO whose response was as follows: “A score of 20 puts the application well within the zone of consideration for funding. After you have received the summary statement, we can schedule a phone call to discuss next steps.” During the phone call, my PO told me they were glowing reviews, definitely a strong score and that he was pretty optimistic. But he declined (obviously) to give me any information about how my application ranked. We then went through the summary statement discussing some weaknesses. He then asked me to prepare and email him a response/rebuttal to the weaknesses discussed by the reviewers. He said that the weaknesses would be brought up at the Council meeting.
    After I emailed him the response document and asked how soon after the council meeting the award decision is made and the notifications sent out. He replied, “I reviewed your response and consider it very helpful. As far as the timing of an award, should an award be made, it’s not likely to occur before July, possibly August. I’m cautiously optimistic, but you may want to consider submitting a revised application for the July 12 receipt date just to be on the safe side.”

    So here are my questions:
    Does anyone know about informal paylines/fundable scores for NIMHD K awards?
    Would my PO have more information regarding my application status right after the council meeting?
    What exactly is the next step after council review is completed?
    Are requests for a response to reviewers’ comments before re-submission common? My mentor thinks this is very unorthodox.
    What is ‘cautiously optimistic’ code for?

    I would appreciate any responses.Updates to follow.

    • DJ said

      Council meeting is on May 10, 2018

      • NewR01 said

        I think cautiously optimistic means very likely.

    • writedit said

      NIMHD has an unusual history so doesn’t have a long track record for funding trends. Council will approve a paylist of applications for funding, but there won’t be enough money to fund all the applications on that list (just gives the IC Director permission to fund them). Your PO will have more information after internal meetings that rank the applications in pay order (not necessarily in order of scores). Jeremy Berg described the process at NIGMS in a blog post that may be helpful in understanding the general approach (not the same at each IC though):

      Your mentor is not used to the requesting of a response to reviews since this practice has come into play more in recent years with so many competitive applications clustered around the payline (so not a clear list of which applications to fund) and more internal programmatic discussion of which of these competitive applications will best serve the IC mission and portfolio needs.

      When your PO said “cautiously optimistic”, that is as close as he can get to saying you should get an award without using those words.

      • DJ said

        Thank you! That link was extremely helpful. NIH should update the timeline to reflect that. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  200. NCIadvice said

    I have perhaps an unusual question: I am an ESI with an R01-A1 scored in the low 20’s (percentile) in October 2017. The “virtual A2” is pending for review in June 2018. The “virtual A2” was assigned a different PO than the A0-A1 at NCI. The “virtual A2” PO is at a different Division than the A0-A1 PO, higher-ranking and with a published record in the area of the grant. Is it appropriate to contact the virtual-A2 PO regarding potential funding of the A1 (depending on the new pay lines, either select pay or R56)? I do not want to destroy my relationship with the A0-A1 PO but I have not heard back from them recently. I do not want to commit a major faux-pas. Your advice would be highly appreciated.

    • SaG said

      The virtual A2 PO probably has zero influence on the possibility of paying your A1. Mostly because they are in different divisions. You could ask virtual A2 PO why your app went to them rather than the original PO. Mistakes happen. Or your science was on the boarder and the virtual A2 tipped a different direction.

      • NewR01 said

        What is virtual A2?

      • writedit said

        An application that was not funded as an A0 or an A1 and so was “resubmitted” as a new A0 (but the same proposal, so in the past, it would have been submitted as an A2, when the NIH allowed an initial and 2 resubmissions).

    • writedit said

      And you should hear about the A1 soon (without bugging the A1 PO), either via payline update or communication from your PO.

      • NewR01 said

        Okay. I thought a “new” A2 should be significantly different than the A1. Does NIH still screen for significant differences?

      • writedit said

        No, the NIH now allows for unlimited submission of the same work (just not at the same time to different ICs or in different activity code applications under review at the same time). There is no limit to the number of times the same work can be submitted as new – but of course you want to be sure the PO is interested in the science … you need to update the science as the field moves forward (and you obtain new data) & the application based on reviewer critiques (but not formally identified as a response to the prior review in A0s) … and you do not want to drain review resources (and reviewer good will) by continuing to submit a proposal that is repeatedly triaged or scored poorly (& not likely to ever receive an award).

  201. new guy said

    Does anyone have insights relating to the ballpark of “fundable” scores for the R35 MIRA for ESIs? No percentiles posted and there seems to be little history to work with. I have a mid-30s score and am curious if there is even a chance that my application will be considered for funding…

    • SaG said

      Email then call your PO. I am guessing you are in the dreaded grey zone. Not a yes..not a no..

      • New guy said

        Thanks. We have something in the books in the near future. I was just curious as to what types of scores have gotten funded/not funded in the past few cycles.

    • said

      Did you get funded for MIRA?

    • Bin said

      Thanks for your response. I am wondering what is a fundable MIRA score since NIH hasn’t really released much data on it.

      • SaG said

        I think it will vary a lot from round to round. Different SEPs and reviewers and different number of apps probably make it hard to say. My guess is 20 or lower is a sure bet. 20-30 high but not for sure, 30-40 grey zone..50:50 chance, 41+ rare but not impossible.

      • Bin said

        I see. That’s good to know. I appreciate your prompt response.

  202. CR said

    Dear Writedit,
    I have an R21 grant submitted to NIA (non ADRD) (primary institute) and NIAID (secondary) that was scored at 31 with 16th percentile. Looks like NIA funded grants with 19th percentile for the year 2017 (i.e those with < 500K, it doesn't say R21 specifically). I have not recieved any potential possibility of funding from NIA (although PO asked me to address few comments-which I did). Now that NIAID has announced its pay-line for 2018 and that impact score of 32 is fundable at NIAID (secondary institute for my grant), does it mean that my grant will be funded by NIAID if NIA cannot fund it? How should I proceed to potentially recieve funding from NIAID in case NIA is not interested in funding it. I would like to contact PO at NIAID ASAP as their council meeting is on first week of june.
    Any suggestion is appreciated.

    • writedit said

      There is no rush to contact NIAID, and you cannot ask about transferring the application – NIA must relinquish it first, but it seems likely they will fund your R21, since I would not expect paylines to go down, and since your PO wanted to be sure he/she had a response ready for any concerns that might be raised internally.

      • CR said

        Thank you. I appreciate it.

  203. CM said

    The information provided on this site has been extremely helpful as I navigate NIH funding mechanism. I received my impact score (24) and summary statement for an NIMHD K99 A0 application. The panel rated the application “excellent to outstanding with potential for high impact.” The reviewer critiques were minor and was stated as easily addressable given my strong mentoring team. I have reached out to the PO numerous times to schedule a phone call however no response. Is this normal? What else can I do for feedback? Should I continue to reach out to the PO? Council meets 5/10/18 and I’m not sure if I should start preparing my JIT documents or prepare an A1 submission. Any insights/advice would be helpful.

    • writedit said

      NIMHD does not have a long history of funding RPG and career development awards, and I see they do not have a chief for the Office of Research Training and Capacity Building (whom I would have suggested you contact next). Although emailing in advance to set up a phone call is the best approach, at this point, you should try calling, and leave a message if you do not reach a live person. However, you might want to wait until next week, given the Council meeting on May 11. If you cannot get a response from your PO within a week or two of the Council meeting about whether you should resubmit in July, then you could try the director of the Office of Extramural Research, at least for a suggestion for an alternative contact for you in the Training Division. Your score should be competitive, and it could be that after the Council meeting, your PO will finally respond (after hesitating while in limbo).

    • Curious said

      Hi CM! My NIMHD K99 PO was very responsive in March when the scores first came out but has been less so this past month. This is pure speculation, but it may be because the NIMHD Health Disparities Research Institute program applications were due last week. Anyway, I was asked to prepare a response to the reviewers’ comments, mostly to address the weaknesses (Impact score: 20). My PO remains ‘cautiously optimistic’ but said if an award was made, I won’t know until July/August. Hence, I was told to have a re-submission ready for July 15 just to be safe. I was also told initially (before summary statement was out) that 20 was well within the zone for consideration for funding, so I’m guessing that 24 might be as well!!?? I guess it’s just a question of whether they have enough funding and what research they prioritize. I submitted my JIT last week. You have plenty of time to submit that so I would’t worry about that. But there’s no harm in preparing a re-submission, if only just to draft out a response to review in case your PO asks for it in the near future. Hope this helps and good luck! Keep us posted!

      • writedit said

        This is all fantastic information, Curious – thank you so much for jumping in with your experience. You should both have the same PO (who would be the PO for all K99 applications), so it is unusual that you (Curious) have had a good response while CM nothing – but what you learned applies to both applications. If you were told to prepare a resubmission, even by a cautiously optimistic PO, then CM should as well (perhaps waiting to see if any news comes after the Council meeting). Good luck to you both!

      • CM said

        Thank you writedit and Curious- thank you for sharing your experience. I am somewhat less than optimistic that I will hear anything after Council based on priors. I will be sure to provide any updates received. Good luck to you on your submission!!

      • Curious said

        Update- My PO informed me that my K99 (score: 20) has been selected for funding from the NIMHD May 2018 council. But NoA can take up to 2 months as they wrap up funding for FY 2018. Seems like they’ve had their paylist meetings. No change in eRA commons status which can take a few weeks anyway. Hope this helps anyone awaiting decisions!

      • writedit said

        Woohoo – congratulations on the confirmation on an award (which you will receive before Sept 30). Thanks for sharing your update, and best wishes for success with your continued career development and eventual launch of an independent research lab. Hopefully CM will receive positive news as well.

      • CM said

        Congratulations, Curious! Do you mind sharing when you actually heard from your PO? I have not received any feedback but was asked by my PO to submit my response to reviewer comments after the May council meeting. Keeping my fingers crossed for good news!!

      • Curious said

        Thank you writedit 🙂 CM-I heard from my PO early this week. I had asked for feedback because my contract is set to expire soon and I just needed some indication if I would be getting the award for contract extension. Good luck to you and keep us posted!

      • Curious said

        Woohooo! Got my NoA for my K99 A0 submitted to NIMHD. One year ago when I started working on this application, it was to get rigorous grant writing experience. I was so sure that a secondary funding source would be able to support me for an additional year. But, that secondary source never materialized and all my hopes rested on this K99. Funny how things work out! April/May/June/July were stressful months as I wavered between looking for another postdoc position or just sitting tight and waiting. And, Visa stress on top of that. But here’s to all that time spent obsessively refreshing eRA commons status.

        Here’s the timeline to award in reverse chronological order:

        08/17/2018 12:37 am – A0 Application awarded, A1 withdrawn
        08/14/2018 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
        08/14/2018 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.
        08/14/2018 Award prepared: refer questions to Grants Management Specialist.
        08/08/2018 Pending administrative review. Refer any questions to Program Official or Grants Management Specialist.

        07/15/2018: PO informed me that A0 application has been selected for funding. I’d requested this feedback for contract extension. What a relief!
        07/12/2018: Submitted A1 (resubmission)

        05/2018: Phone call with PO to discuss funding potential and my situation with contract renewal. PO was optimistic but suggested a resubmission to be safe.
        05/15/2018 Council review completed.
        05/04/2018: Submitted JIT in response to the automated link emailed. No JIT was ever explicitly requested from PO or GMS. I guess all the documents were in order.
        04/2018: Phone call with PO to discuss summary statement. PO requested a response to reviewers’ comments.

        Impact score: 20
        03/05/2018 Scientific Review Group review completed: Council review pending. Refer any questions to Program Official.
        10/23/2017 Scientific Review Group review pending. Refer any questions to the Scientific Review Administrator.
        10/12/2017 Application entered into system

      • writedit said

        Woohoo! Congrats again and thank you so much for all you’ve shared along the way, especially this helpfully annotated timeline. Best wishes for success with your project and your career in biomedical research!

  204. confusedAboutNCE said

    I want to request a 1-year no cost extension on my R00. I submitted the form to my university, and the signing official says there is no link to request a NCE (current end date is June 30, 2018) on eRA commons. Is this an issue that should be asked of the eRA commons help desk or the GMS? I assume and hope that NCE requests are allowed for R00s!

    • writedit said

      I assume R00s can have NCEs, but you can ask your GMS (and if allowed, why the link is not there).

      • confusedAboutNCE said

        In the past, my GMS has never responded to e-mails or phone calls from the university signing official. We will try her first, but if she again doesn’t respond, is there a different person we can contact?

      • writedit said

        The PO can answer, too, but the eRA Commons Help Desk is usually quite responsive (and helpful), if you can’t get an answer from your program contacts.

  205. Lan Zhou said

    NCI released 2018 payline today: 9% for R01, 7% for R21. See details in

    • writedit said

      Thanks so much for posting. I see they knocked off a percentile for established investigators (9th) to increase the ESI payline to the 14th – and the rest of posted paylines stay the same.

      • ESI said

        Dear writedit, can you please offer some more insights/ comments? A lot of people were under the impression that NCI paylines would go much higher…

      • writedit said

        I made a few suggestions earlier as to why paylines might not change … significant jump in the number of lower-scoring applications (in which case CSR might need to recalibrate some SRGs), concerns at the IC about long-term financial obligations in case of a federal-wide budget adjustment within a few years, IC programmatic priorities in need of financial boost.

        Please note at NCI that the hard payline refers to whether applications need additional review. Applications scoring above those paylines will continue to be discussed internally, so the pay range for applications of programmatic interest will extend up several percentile points (used to be to the ~15th – no idea how high they go now). Also, NCI did increase the hard payline for ESI, so I suspect a number of the new R01s to be awarded under the FY18 increase will be in that category (plus now R37 awards to ESI PIs with scores at or below the 9th percentile).

    • Keith said

      This cannot be serious. Lower payline after “the biggest increase” in RPG budget since 2002?!

      • Stellar said

        i agree. this seems like a tough marketing pitch for NCI. How do scientists encourage taxpayers to support cancer research when a pay raise from congress to NCI results in a pay cut for researchers? The rationale there is not intuitive to the outside layman (or to the average cancer researcher for that matter)

  206. Hopeful said

    I saw that NCI offers the R37 (MERIT Award) with the following eligibility: “Investigators may not apply for an ESI MERIT award. ESIs who have submitted a single-Principal Investigator (PI) R01 application that received a score within the NCI payline are eligible for consideration for the award.”
    Does anyone know if NIA offers something similar?

    • writedit said

      NIA funds MERIT awards, though I am not sure if any go to ESI. Your PO would know … and I see the suggestion has been made for an ESI MERIT program already:

      • Hopeful said

        Thank you. I heard back from my PO and she said that right now, NIA MERIT awards are for established investigators.

      • writedit said

        Thanks for the update! I wonder if additional ICs will consider ESI MERIT mechanisms as part of their approach to implementing NGRI. Seems like a great strategy to give the best new scientists a break at the start of their career.

      • SaG said

        Only Problem with MERIT’s for ESIs is that many schools want asst. profs to get a second great or renew their first grant before awarding tenure. A MERIT only has an admin review (as opposed to a peer review) after five years. Will schools count that? Would the tenure clocks run out before the MERIT is renewed? Can you actually get a school to change its tenure policies? Can be tricky.

      • Hopeful said

        I don’t think that any school is going to be disappointed that a faculty member (at any level) has an opportunity to extend their grant by 2 years without having to go through a strict scientific review. While it may or may not count towards tenure, there is nothing that says you can not also apply for another grant in addition to the MERIT. If the clock runs out before MERIT is renewed, then it would have also run out by the time the 5 year R01 ended.

      • writedit said

        I agree with Hopeful … and at BICO, P&T committees understand the current state of NIH funding and no longer strictly require a 2nd R01 or 1st R01 renewal but look at other funding sources and accomplishments (including IP) – plus the tenure clock is getting longer, especially for physician scientists.

      • SaG said

        Nice. I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks. But, I do know of several well known private medical schools that still require second R01s or a renewal. In addition, to numerous pubs in “high impact luxury journals.” Maybe times will change for them too.

  207. Mika said

    NCI 2018 payline not including F30 ? any comments, please

    • writedit said

      NCI doesn’t provide paylines for all activity codes. You can search this and the archived pages for NCI F30 to see if other funded scores have been posted (or at least F31 scores) in the past. My guess is that the threshold will be about the same or a little better. At this point, though, you could just ask your PO for guidance, too.

  208. HandWringer said

    Hi writedit! I’ve been a lurker for the past 18 months or so and have found the info on this site to be very helpful and interesting, so thanks! I submitted a K99 in June of last year, to an IC with no explicit salary cap for K99 awardees. I’m aware that some institutes do have explicit caps, and those caps vary from IC to IC, within a certain range. The amount we listed as my salary in the K99 budget was at the top end of that range. It was the amount that I was told to use by people at my institution, and everyone at the institution signed off on it. Anyway, the grant got a good score when it was reviewed in October, passed Council review in February, and has been pending administrative review for the past few weeks, which I understand is a good sign. However, today an email came from the GMS stating that the amount requested for the candidate’s salary is higher than what they usually see for K99s, and asking the Authorized Organization Representative to confirm that this amount is commensurate with the institution’s salary structure. I’m assuming that our grants office will respond in the affirmative (confirming that it’s an appropriate amount). But I’m just wondering whether it seems like that is likely to be all that’s needed, or if instead this is something that could end up being a problem I need to worry about. In all likelihood, I’m just being paranoid/neurotic, but after getting this far I’m eager for reassurance that things are not going to be suddenly derailed. Thanks in advance for any input!

    • writedit said

      Nothing will be derailed by a salary issue, so don’t worry there. The IC just wants to confirm that your institution’s salary structure is at the upper end of the federal scale, whether due to cost of living in your city, competitiveness in your field, or any other legitimate factor that is applied across the board – vs just for you specifically. This is just a formality, and your AOR would not have signed off on the application at the time of submission if your salary was out of range for the institution, so you can rest easy.

  209. Diane2018 said

    Hi Writedit!
    NIH has issued an new FOA (R01) that fits my background well. My question is: if I have submitted a proposal as a regular R01 in Feb. 2018, can I submit to the new FOA in this coming June? The new program accepts application only once a year, which is the reason for this question. The proposal has new data but the aims are overlapping…. If not, do I have to write a complete new proposal?

    • writedit said

      You cannot submit an application that is the same or substantially the same as another currently under review. Your February submission will be under review until you receive the summary statement (not the date of the study section meeting). You could withdraw the February application, but there is no guarantee that your proposal will do better in response to the RFA vs investigator-initiated. If you also want to also submit to the RFA, you will need a new proposal with new (different) aims. If you have any questions, you could ask the RFA PO if your RFA proposal is sufficiently different from your submitted R01 (especially if your R01 PO is also overseeing the RFA).

      • Diane2018 said


  210. Reviewq said

    Couple of questions regarding peer-review: If a PI requests that the application not be reviewed by a panel member for a legitimate reason, are there instances in which the SRO may ignore or not grant the request? Secondly, do panel members know which PI requested their non-participation? (ie if they are asked to leave the room)

    • ToothFairy said

      Yes to both questions.

    • Stellar said

      There are good reasons a SRO can over ride a silly request to exclude, so “yes” to Q1. if the grant is MPI, then not clear if the specific PI is recognized as the excluder but a committee member would certainly notice if he / she were excluded for non – obvious reasons (same institution or active collaboration / COI) , so yes to Q2

    • writedit said

      SROs determine whether the request is legitimate (which may differ from the PI’s perspective). If you provide objective rationale and evidence for your request, the SRO will take the request seriously and assign reviewers accordingly. However, if the SRO cannot find another regular or ad hoc reviewer who knows the science as well, the SRO may have no choice … and often direct competitors give good reviews out of respect for the science. SROs know their reviewers well and would, I think, be able to distinguish between competitors who might be punitive vs those who will focus on the science.

      To the best of my knowledge, only the SRO knows about the specific reviewer requests because these requests only apply to reviewer assignment (not who can or can’t stay in the room for the discussion) … and only reviewers who self-identify a conflict leave the room — that is, no one is unexpectedly “told” to leave the room by the SRO or Chair. Being a scientific competitor of the PI is not, in and of itself, a conflict of interest.

  211. Kirimi said


    You guys have any idea how NIH R01 IDEA state funding works?
    My Ro1 is now “pending councli review” by NIGMS who is the IDEA state funding Institute.

    • New said

      Has anyone had news from May 15th NIAAA council meeting?

  212. Kirimi said


    You guys have any idea how NIH R01 IDEA state funding works?
    My Ro1 is now “pending councli review” by NIGMS who is the IDEA state funding Institute.

    • writedit said

      It depends on what you mean by how IDEA funding works. If your application was scored and discussed, then you can check with your PO as to whether you have a chance of being funded and whether you should submit again for the next cycle (July). If your application was not scored, you should be preparing to resubmit.

      • Kirimi said

        the application was close but not funded so the PO from the original institute sent it to NIGMS. So, the fact that the status changed to “council pending” does that mean that NIGMS internal review was successful? Meaning they wana fund it?

      • writedit said

        No, it just means their Advisory Council hasn’t met yet. However, if your regular PO found someone at NIGMS to accept the application, that is a good sign. You could still ask the new NIGMS PO whether you have a chance of funding or if you should resubmit.

      • Kirimi said

        Thank you

      • SaG said

        NIGMS doesn’t fund grants from other ICs via IDEA state money. But, the group that co-funds grants with IDEA state money is located in NIGMS ( Complicated I know. Your grant will remain at the original Institute. Each Institute can nominate 3-4 (I think) applications for possible co-funding by the IDEA program. From the webpage above,

        ” NIH ICs select and submit eligible applications to NIGMS for consideration for IDeA Co-funding support, and maintain the administration and management of the applications that receive IDeA Co-funding.”

      • writedit said

        Aha – thanks for explaining this!

  213. Sunny said

    Hi, Writedit

    I applied NCI K01 and got the summary statement last March.
    When I contacted my PO after getting the summary statement, PO said that there is a good chance that my application will be recommended for funding and asked for a one-page response for reviewers, so I sent it. I contacted PO again last week and PO said that my application will be considered at the council meeting and please wait patiently.

    Today, my eRA commons website updated and now it shows that Advisory Council meeting date is determined to be held at the end of June (it was initially May, 2018).I thought that I would know the results at least in May, so I can decide whether I can start preparing resubmission or not in June.
    Do you recommend for me to start preparing resubmission (July 12) or wait until the Advisory Council meeting? Should I ask my PO again? I don’t want to bother my PO since PO said wait patiently last week….

    • writedit said

      I think your PO would have recommended that you work on another submission for insurance if there were doubts about funding but instead simply said to wait patiently. If you have not yet asked explicitly about whether to resubmit and are concerned, you could send a brief query to ask exactly that (& nothing more about the current application status).

      • Sunny said

        Last week, I asked my PO already whether I need to provide additional information. My PO said that “Please continue to wait patiently and I or the Grants Management office will let you know if we need additional information.”
        I also think that my PO would have recommended me to prepare resubmission if there were doubts about funding.
        I should and will get used to this grant process, but since it’s my first grant, I think I am very nervous. I guess that I should just wait for now. Thanks for keeping this useful blog open to public and replying to me!

      • writedit said

        Sure – I think you are correct in concluding your PO would have said then that you should take the precaution of preparing a resubmission if the PO thought it was potentially necessary. The fact that he mentioned the Grant Management office is another hint that you are likely headed toward an award. Hopefully you will have good news in June.

      • Sunny said

        Hi Writedit,

        I am still waiting for NoA of this K01 application. I contacted my PO last month, and PO said that my application was recommended for funding and I should hear something before July. However, until today, I haven’t got any emails from PO/GMS. Although eRA commons still shows that my grant status is “Council review completed”, I just found that from the left side Contacts info now includes a name of Grants Management Specialist. Is this a good sign?

        I am also at the transition from postdoc to research track faculty position (as I am a very senior research associate), and the department is willing to do this once I get this award. I wonder how the budget works. The budget I requested for K01 is initially based on postdoc position, but the research track faculty position salary will be higher (although it’s below than K01’s NIH salary limit). Is it good to contact GMS and adjust budgets before NoA or wait until NoA then ask? I see from your other postings that it’s good to contact GMS before NoA (when JiT gets submitted), but some positing/websites say that budget can be modified without any additional documents for upto 25% increase? Could you please advise?

        Thanks a lot!

      • writedit said

        If your PO is confident about your getting an award and you had a GMS assigned, then you can relax. ICs are extremely busy processing awards, so it just takes more time to get to them. It would have been best to propose the research faculty salary rather than your postdoc salary, but you should be able to adjust this, though it depends on your IC. The 25% adjustment refers to changing how your approved budget is spent – not increasing the budget by up to 25% … though if you are thinking of shifting your research stipend to salary, you need to be sure you have another source of funding to complete the research proposed. I would suggest discussing the salary adjustment as part of the JIT and pre-NoA negotiations if possible. Asking for a higher salary will not endanger your award – although if you don’t have the higher salary at the time of the award (ie, if your institution will not promote you to research asst prof before the NoA is issued), then you may not be able to request this and would need to adjust it afterward. However, your PO and/or GMS can advise you on IC policy for adjusting salary in this situation (your internal grant administrators should be able to give advice on this, too).

      • Sunny said

        Thanks a lot for your help, Writedit! I finally received NoA with adjusted budget. As you recommended, pre-NoA (as part of the JiT) salary adjustment was done and promotion was processed before the start date of the NoA. Your advice was very helpful and once again thank you so much for running this wonderful blog!

      • writedit said

        You are very welcome – thanks for this helpful update, and best wishes for success!

  214. huailang said

    Hi writedit, I am a DP2 applicant and got an impact score 33. My PO told me that my application might or might not get funded. I submitted a response to address reviewers’ concerns as per PO’s request (I think everyone in the second stage will be offered this opportunity). The council meeting took place at 5/18. Today, I saw the status changed to “Council Review Completed.”. Does it mean anything? Will all the DP2 applicants with impact scores end up getting this status regardless being funded or not? Thank you very much.

    • RR said

      Hey Huailang, Same for me, the status changed to “Council Review Completed”. What I gathered reading through the past comments is that the next (positive) step would be the assignment of specific IC. In past, for some successful applicants it happened quickly (already before the Council meeting) and for some as late as Aug. Keep us posted!

      • huailang said

        Thanks, RR. Good to see someone in the same boat here:) I also saw those comments. Surely we should be hopeful and keep our fingers crossed, but I was trying to figure out whether such status really means something (positive?) or nothing (if every discussed application, regardless getting funded or not, will reach this status, eventually).

      • NewR said

        I guess if it proceeds to award, the status will change to pending administrative review. I’m in the same boat for a possible select pay, that won’t happen until summer.

    • writedit said

      Not sure what happened to my reply, but it was to check comments from prior years and not to panic yet, since it is so early, and awards seem to process at different rates (as RR noted). Thanks for sharing your experiences, huailang & RR, which will help future DP2 applicants. 🙂

      • RR said

        Hi writedit, your reply was in different discussion page, thanks much for that. I haven’t found much discussion on JIT requests in DP2 case. Are specific JIT requests sent to DP2 applicants, and if so does it usually happen before council meeting?

      • writedit said

        Yes, you’ll get a direct JIT request … I am not absolutely positive, but I would assume all JIT would be after Council, once the ICs are sure of which applications will be funded (and as these decisions are made, since some DP2s are awarded later than others).

  215. ESI said

    The PO replied to me on the day of council meeting after 2 weeks of silence. He mentioned “You should prepare a resubmission. Your current submission will be discussed but funding is not certain.” The timing is interesting since the council meeting on reviewing applications started in the early morning and he replied at noon. Does that mean the discussion was actually completed at the time he emailed and he was just being polite not telling me the bad news?

    • writedit said

      You are on the paylist, but your PO probably realized, based on opening comments, that NIGMS might not get far enough down the paylist to get to yours – or that they wouldn’t get that far down the paylist until August, which would be too late for you to resubmit. He just wants to be sure you don’t miss an application cycle and risk missing funding.

  216. ESI said

    Thanks. I am curious what makes them go further down to the low- ranked proposals in the list. They could go further because the budget of highly ranked proposal could be squeezed in order to fund more lowly ranked projects? Or they are just conservative to only process the fund for the surely fundable projects first?

    • writedit said

      They know how far they will get if everything is spent according to proposed budgets, but sometimes overlap is identified at JIT, problems arise in administrative review, PIs move (so award is delayed until everything is straightened out), MIRA funding consolidation occurs, etc., any of which could free up funds for additional awards. There could be internal shifting of funds as the FY winds down, too.

  217. Jason Verandi said

    Hello Writedit, thanks for maintaining this wonderful site to provide us super useful information about NIH grants. I submitted my first R01 (ESI, NIGMS) in the last year, and got a score of 29% in Feb. A about 1 month ago, my grant director requested JIT and I submitted promptly. The council meeting was held on May 24-25. I’d like to ask your opinion: should I contact my grant director to request an update? If so, when would be a good time to ask? (I worry asking too early my annoy the grant director). Many thanks!

    • writedit said

      Given that NIGMS payline meetings are not held until after Council meets (per Jeremy Berg,, you might want to give your PO another week or two before checking in for an update (since he/she won’t have any news until after the internal meeting). So, maybe the end of next week or the week after – and perhaps you will hear back before then.

    • ESI said

      I am also very curious about that while I am preparing resubmission to NIGMS. Please let me know if you got any update.

      • Jason Verandi said

        Thanks, writedit! I’ll contact my grant director later in the next week. Yes, ESI, I’ll keep this updated. I think my situation is quite similar to yours so likewise please also let me know if you have any update.

  218. Hui Liu said

    NIA just released its payline:

    Most grants get the same/similar or even higher payline level as last year, except K and F awards. Is this the finial version? It doesn’t indicate any future update.

    • writedit said

      If you look at last year’s paylines, they continued to go up past July (especially career development), and the year before that through September, so I would not be surprised to see another bump later as they continue to see how far their funding will go. If your application is currently above the payline, though, you should not miss the July resubmission date, as nothing is guaranteed (the resubmission is withdrawn if you receive an award).

  219. CR said

    Dear Writeedit,
    Many thanks to you for maintaining this site and for your constant inputs on the grant-related questions by new investigators like me. Looking at the NIA pay-line it seems my grant (with 16%) will be funded as you suggested, and that I did not have to contact the secondary institution (my score was within the pay-line at the secondary institute). Thanks again for all your suggestions.

    • writedit said

      Happy to be of help (reassurance) and am glad your application will be able to stay put at NIA. Funding isn’t guaranteed until you have the NoA, of course, but you can be very optimistic that this will be the case and that you’ll have news in the weeks ahead.

  220. Finger_Crossed said

    Dear Wireedit,
    I was going through your blog to see if any particular question similar to my situation but could not find one. I applied K01 and my application scored 20. Today I exchange email with my PO he said it will be funded. The proposed grant start date July 1st, so now I am expecting JIT request and then NOA. However, K01 requires citizenship. I am in the process of obtaining it, I had my EAD cards but possibly actual green card approval will not be available at the time of NOA in which they will ask prove for citizenship. As far as I understand from NIH website I have 6 months to prove my citizenship otherwise grant will be cancelled. I am confused when and whom I should ask for delay and are sure that it is 6 moths? Do you think it will negatively impact my grant that they can even cancel before 6 months? Do you happen do know some situation like this? Thank you for your answer,

    • writedit said

      Your PO is on your side, so don’t hesitate to explain the situation, especially with the current state of immigration affairs in the US. Your start date is not set in stone and is not an expiration date. Your IC should be able to delay your notice of award until later in the FY (but before Sept 30), but you need to ask now, before it is issued. I am afraid I do not know about a 6-month grace period, so again, that is something your PO would need to clarify, especially so close to the end of the FY.

  221. Rparke said

    Does anyone have any recent experience with 10-11% R01s at NCI. I am an established investigator. Council meeting was last September.

    • writedit said

      The FY18 hard payline is at the 9th percentile, and while yours could be considered for select pay, it seems as though your PO should have asked you for a rebuttal before now. You can check in with the PO for an update as to your application status and whether you should resubmit in July.

      • Rparke said

        The PO did ask for a rebuttal and will bring up the application for select pay. I was just wondering what the chances are for funding under this scenario. Overly anxious, I guess, given that I just lost all of my prior funding.

      • writedit said

        Good news that the PO is advocating for you. If you have not told your PO this, be sure to let him/her know (even if you have told the PO, perhaps remind or update the status if you haven’t communicated in a while). POs never like to see productive labs stressed or shut down by loss of funding, especially when you have an 10-11% score.

      • RNAScientist said

        Although not an established PI, I did have a similar situation that I will describe. I submitted an R01 as ESI in April and received 15% (second submission). Study section was in October (?) and PI asked for a rebuttal letter to take in December (? -sorry this was ~ 2 years ago). Anyhow, he communicated with me that it was unlikely so I resubmitted. I then was in Bethesda in September (~18 months post submission) and met with the PI to discuss some other ideas. He did say that he was very sorry – there was some falling out in my field, but that the R01 would not be funded. The very next day I received an email from the PO to call him. I called and was informed that the R01 would be funded – nothing to do with my communication with him. It was purely coincidental – he got an email that morning saying it would be funded. Of course this happened ~2 weeks before the end of the fiscal year. So, my point is that it can happen up until the end of September. I imagine the further away from the payline, the longer you wait. In my case 18 months and 2-week before the end of the fiscal cycle. Grateful nonetheless.