NIH Updates: The Bottom Line

With any large organization or federal agency, changes and updates tend to happen frequently. However, we know that each of you leads a busy life and adjusting to new policies or practices can sometimes be delayed. To keep you current on the latest funding trends and policy shifts, we will post updates from GTC faculty about the agencies and organizations they know best – and those that matter most to you. We will also remind you about changes that may have escaped your notice. Today, we feature information about the NIH, courtesy of Dr. Ron Sakaguchi.

The Change

The NIH policy on resubmissions previously required substantial changes to the Specific Aims, scope, and design of the project after an unsuccessful A1 application. As of April 2014, a twice unfunded resubmission (A1) can be presented in a new grant application (A0) without substantial changes to the content and scope of the proposal. The new application will not include an introduction or response to prior reviews, although using feedback to strengthen your new application is highly recommended. For more information see NIH Notice Number NOT-OD-14-074.

The Bottom Line

Your proposal has been through two rounds of review, but hasn’t received funding. Reworking your approach should be your first priority. For those of you whose proposal writing skills are not as sharp as your research ability, this is an opportunity to tap resources that you may not have had time to utilize. Have an experienced colleague look at your proposal to identify potential trouble areas, and heed the advice from the two panels – look for common points from both sources. With this change in policy, your good research idea will have another chance at getting funded when you improve the quality of your proposal.

The Change

A change to the NIH biosketch is being piloted now and will be fully implemented in early 2015. The new format focuses on your accomplishments and includes these major differences:

  • five pages total (compared to four)
  • descriptions of your five most significant contributions to science
  • list up to four supporting peer-reviewed publications for each description
  • influence of your contributions on your scientific area
  • effects of your contributions on health or technology
  • discussion of your role in these discoveries, when part of a team
  • include a link to your full body of published works via SciENcv or My Bibliography

For more information see NIH Notice NOT-OD-14-091.

The Bottom Line

You have an opportunity to paint a more robust picture of your body of research, with a focus on your role and contributions. The additional page allows more room to discuss the significance of your contributions, along with any context or background information. You should include both team efforts and individual research when describing your role, including specific titles and positions held. The link to your body of published works will eliminate the need to provide citations in the biosketch. This change means you can provide more details than before about your research contributions and roles.

As the NIH and other federal agencies and organizations shift their policies and practices to fit budget, personnel, and time constraints, we will keep you updated. From time to time, we will also review changes to ensure you remember the important differences prior to submission of your proposal.

Ronald Sakaguchi

Professor and Academic Director at Oregon Health & Science University
He is a Professor and Academic Director in the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University where he teaches Innovation, Critical Thinking, and Strategy. Dr. Sakaguchi has led seminars on time management and strategic planning.

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