Reminder of NIH Policy Changes

For your convenience, here is a roundup of recently announced changes impacting grant application submission for due dates on or after January 25, 2019.

NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Individuals Across the Lifespan as Participants in Research Involving Human Subjects (NOT-OD-18-116)

Individuals of all ages are expected to be included in all NIH-defined clinical research unless there are scientific or ethical reasons not to include them. Applications for research involving human subjects must address the age-appropriate inclusion or exclusion of individuals in the Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children section of the proposed research project.

Review Criteria Updates (Fellowship – NOT-OD-18-227; Research – NOT-OD-18-228; Career Development – NOT-OD-18-229)

NIH has updated application instructions and review criteria addressing rigor of prior research (formerly scientific premise); inclusion reporting and requirements; and protections for human subjects.

Recently published opportunities have the updated review criteria in the body of the announcement. Opportunities posted prior to the change have a link to the notice containing updated criteria at the top of the Application Review Information section.

Changes to the NIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15) Program (NOT-OD-19-015)

The R15 activity code is rebranded as “NIH Research Enhancement Award” and going forward will include two programs:

  • Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions
  • Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools

An institution letter verifying eligibility with the criteria listed in the funding opportunity announcement is required with each application and the ineligible institution list will no longer be maintained.

The NIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Parent Announcement, PA-18-504, expires January 8, 2019 and will not be reissued.

Reinstatement of NIH SBIR Direct-to-Phase II Authority (NOT-OD-19-019)

Direct-to-Phase II is now an option for the SBIR Omnibus opportunities (see NOT-OD-19-019 for exceptions).

Other targeted SBIR opportunities issued by NIH Institutes and Centers have reinstated the Direct-to-Phase II option on an opportunity-by-opportunity basis.

New Funding Opportunity Announcements Targeting Basic Experimental Studies with Humans (NOT-OD-19-024)

NIH has issued new R01 Parent Announcements identified as Basic Experimental Studies with Humans. These opportunities focus on applications that propose clinical trials that also meet the definition of basic research. Pay close attention to participating Institutes and Centers and any restrictions posted in the Related Notices section of each opportunity. Applications proposing basic experimental studies involving humans may also be submitted to opportunities which allow clinical trials.

Harassment and Discrimination Protections in NIH Training Applications (NOT-OD-19-029)

The Letters of Support section of institutional training (T) applications must include a letter on institutional letterhead signed by a key institutional leader that describes the institutional commitment to ensuring that proper policies, procedures, and oversight are in place to prevent discriminatory harassment and other discriminatory practices.

NIH Implementation of the Final Rule on the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (Common Rule; NOT-OD-19-050)

Several provisions in the Revised Common Rule resulted in changes to NIH policies and procedures. From an application submission perspective, the most notable changes are:

  • Changes to categories of research qualifying for exemptions (FAQs)
  • Use of new exemptions 7 and 8, when applicable

Application Instruction Updates

The application form instructions found on the How To Apply – Application Guide page include clarifications and policy updates (see Significant Changes).

Original post by NIH Staff on 1/8/2019

Partial Government Shutdown

Please see the information below regarding the partial government shutdown.  While this won’t affect submitting proposals, reports and various deliverables, it will affect the review process.  OSP will continue to process actions as scheduled and will keep you apprised if there are any unexpected delays.  Some key takeaways:

Affected US Departments & Agencies:

·         National Science Foundation (NSF)

·         National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

·         National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Affected Sponsor Applications/Proposals We expect will be up and that proposals can be submitted, but they will not be forwarded to affected federal sponsor agencies. These applications will be in a holding pattern in

Other: We will provide details on affected sponsor systems used for proposal submission, as they become known

Please contact MBL OSP with any questions or concerns.


NSF: NEW EDGE Solicitation Released!

A new Enabling Discovery Through GEnomic Tools (EDGE) solicitation (NSF 19-527) has been released. Although for the Directorate of Biological Sciences there are no deadlines for many kinds of proposals, as a special program EDGE will continue to have a deadline – in 2019, EDGE proposals will be due on Tuesday, February 12th.

EDGE continues to focus solely on tool development for direct tests of gene function in non-model organisms.  The expectation is that those tools will be rapidly disseminated throughout the biological community for future hypothesis-driven research.

With this solicitation EDGE introduces two separate funding tracks:

The Comprehensive Track is intended for projects to develop and provide proof-of concept tests of functional genomic tools and infrastructure to enable direct tests of hypotheses about gene function in diverse animals,  plants, microbes, fungi and viruses for which such tools and infrastructure are presently unavailable.

The Targeted Track is intended to address a specific bottleneck that impedes either transformation or aspects of husbandry required to produce sufficient biological material (e.g. specific cell types, life history stages etc.) needed to efficiently conduct direct tests of gene function. Targeted track proposals are expected to be smaller in scope and thus have more limited budgets.

Prior to submission please read the EDGE solicitation carefully. There are some significant differences for EDGE proposals from the general instructions in NSF’s PAPPG. EDGE proposals have required sections in the project description and additional supplementary documents compared to regular proposals submitted to IOS core programs. Collaborative projects from a consortium of organizations must submit a single proposal with one eligible organization serving as the lead, and all other organizations as sub-awardees.

EDGE proposals also have special review criteria. For EDGE proposals, reviewers will be instructed to focus on the following critical aspects of the proposed work:

  • The potential catalytic impact of enabling the species named in the proposal to advance research in organismal biology;
  • The potential catalytic impact of the proposed research to advance organismal research by enabling new tools, approaches, and infrastructure;
  • The feasibility of the proposed methods and approaches to achieve the stated goals, and the likelihood of success;
  • The quality and potential for rapid and high impact of the Dissemination and Education Plan; and,
  • For those proposals involving multiple organizations, the quality of the Project Management Plan and likelihood of successful project coordination.


Contact the NSF EDGE working group: BIOIOSEDGE@NSF.GOV

Revised NIH Grants Policy Statement for Fiscal Year 2019

NIH has released a revised Grants Policy Statement that applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2018.  This revised version does not introduce new policies, but it does incorporate all policy changes or updates made throughout the previous year and includes significant enhancements to improve the user interface, navigation, and search.  Let NIH know what you think of the usability enhancements.  They welcome suggestions for continued improvement!

Read the full announcement for details.


Original post by NIH Staff on 11/9/2018

NSF: Statement from the Acting Assistant Director for Biological Sciences on Proposal Submission Limits

In August, the NSF BIO directorate released new solicitations to its proposal submission process to eliminate deadlines and limit the number of proposals that could be submitted to a given division annually by a PI or co-PI. As BIO was receiving far more worthy proposals than it has money to support, this submission cap was established with a view to ensuring that BIO’s merit review process would not be overwhelmed with the move to no deadlines.

In the ensuing three months, the community expressed serious concern that this new policy would hinder collaboration as well as limit funding prospects for new investigators. BIO places a high value on collaboration and on fostering careers of new investigators; thus, we held internal discussions to consider ways to address these concerns. In addition, relatively few proposals have been submitted to BIO since the release of the solicitations.

Having listened to community concern and tracked the current low rate of submission, and following extensive internal consultation, BIO is lifting all PI or co-PI restrictions on proposal submission for FY 2019, effective immediately.

NSF BIO recognizes that it is important to track the effects of the no-deadline policy on proposal submission patterns, to ensure that a high-quality review process is sustained. Therefore, we are seeking approval from the NSF Biological Sciences Advisory Committee to establish a subcommittee to assist in developing the evidence base for any future policy changes that may be needed.

Solicitations for proposals will be amended and released over the next few weeks to reflect these changes.

 Original post by DEB Science Staff at NSF on November 15, 2018

Revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (19-1) has been issued

NSF has announced that a revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 19-1) has been issued.

The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 28, 2019. Significant changes include:

  • Addition of as an option for proposal preparation and submission, and proposal file updates;
  • Revision of eligibility standards for unaffiliated individuals;
  • Specification that conference proposals over $50,000 and all equipment proposals must include the Collaborators and Other Affiliations information in the proposal submission;
  • Revision of resubmission guidelines for NSF programs that accept proposals at any time;
  • Implementation of NSF’s policy on sexual harassment and other forms of harassment, or sexual assault;
  • Specification that proposers are required to have a policy or code-of-conduct that addresses sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault, and that includes clear and accessible means of reporting violations of the policy or code-of-conduct. This policy or code-of-conduct must be disseminated to conference participants prior to attendance at the conference as well as made available at the conference itself;
  • Emphasis on the importance of training faculty in the responsible and ethical conduct of research;
  • Incorporation of existing patent policy into the PAPPG. This policy was previously implemented by regulation at 45 CFR 650; and
  • Numerous clarifications and other changes throughout the document.

NSF encourages you to review the by-chapter summary of changes provided in the Introduction section of the PAPPG.

An NSF webinar to brief the community on the new PAPPG will be held on November 27 at 2 PM EST. For additional information about the webinar, including how to register for it, visit:

While this version of the PAPPG becomes effective on January 28, 2019, in the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 18-1) continue to apply.  NSF will ensure that the current version of the PAPPG remains on the NSF website, with a notation to proposers that specifies when the new PAPPG (including a link to the new Guide) will become effective.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the NSF Policy Office at

Original post by NSF on 11/6/2018

NSF Report: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering

Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering provides statistical information about the participation of these three groups in science and engineering education and employment. Its primary purpose is to serve as a statistical abstract with no endorsement of or recommendations about policies or programs. National Science Foundation reporting on this topic is mandated by the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (Public Law 96-516).

This digest highlights key statistics drawn from a wide variety of data sources. Data and figures in this digest are organized into five topical areas—enrollment, field of degree, occupation, employment status, and early career doctorate holders.

Surveys conducted by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) at the National Science Foundation provided a large portion of the data used in this report. NCSES has a central role in the collection, interpretation, analysis, and dissemination of objective data on the science and engineering enterprise.

A formal report, in the form of a digest, is issued every 2 years and is available here.

WMPD Digest Cover


New Grant Application Submission Tips for Success Videos

Getting ready to apply for a grant and don’t know where to start? Set yourself up for success with tips from the experts at NIH. Quickly learn how to access application forms, ensure your application is a good fit for an announcement, and make an important final check of your application after submitting with new videos from the Office of Extramural Research (OER).

Check out these helpful quick tip videos on the How to Apply – Video Tutorials page to help you avoid common mistakes and position yourself for success:


Original post on October 12, 2018 by Enhancements & Options

Effective September 24, 2018,’s Proposal Preparation and Submission Site will be enhanced to allow additional flexible options for PDF uploads. These include:

  • Support for PDFs generated from LaTeX source documents in addition to existing support for PDFs from Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Open Office for document compliance checks
  • Support for fonts and font sizes:
    • Arial (not Arial Narrow), Courier New, Palatino, Palatino Linotype, or Helvetica at a font size of 10 points or larger;
    • Times New Roman at a font size of 10 points or larger; or
    • Computer Modern family of fonts at a font size of 10 points or larger.
    • Other fonts not specified above, such as Cambria Math, may be used for mathematical formulas, equations, or when inserting Greek letters or special characters.

Note that while some of the above font sizes differ from the guidance provided in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), proposals following the on-screen guidance in will not be prevented from submission.

Please note the Proposal Preparation and Submission Site is being developed incrementally and as capabilities are migrated from FastLane to, the system features will expand until it eventually replaces FastLane for proposal preparation and submission.

More Information on Document Uploads

Document upload Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will be available via this link on September 24, 2018. Additional resources such as instructional videos and a system capabilities release timeline are currently available on the About Proposal Preparation and Submission page.

For IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or Policy-related questions should be directed to

Original post by NSF on 9/19/2018

RPPRs: Who Can Do What?

A new resource, RPPRs: Who Can Do What?, provides a quick look at the Annual, Interim, and Final Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs), including information such as due dates and how to access RPPR links. It also charts what happens to the Interim RPPR when a Type 2, Competing Renewal application is submitted.

Original post September 7, 2018