Fiscal Policy and Salary Cap Guidance for 2017

Now that the NIH fiscal year 2017 budget is signed into law, NIH published its final fiscal policy and salary cap guidance for this year.

In general, NIH will restore reductions to non-competing continuation awards made this year while we were operating under a pending budget (continuing resolution).  Additional details on fiscal operations, including specific funding strategies for ICs and any exceptions, will be posted at the NIH funding strategies page.

The salary cap remains unchanged from the interim guidance published in March. The direct salary limitation follows Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale, which was previously set at $185,100, and increased to $187,000 effective January 8, 2017. This means that for awards issued in previous years that were restricted to Executive Level II, including competing awards already issued in fiscal year 2017, grantees may rebudget to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level as long as:

  1. adequate funds are available in active awards; and
  2. the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary.

See NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-17-087 for details on the salary cap, and NOT-OD-17-086 for guidance on NIH fiscal policy.

Have questions about your specific award(s)? Contact the Grants Management Specialist identified on your Notice of Award.

Posted on July 25, 2017 by NIH Staff

Full article can be found at the link below:

Fiscal Policy and Salary Cap Guidance for 2017

NIH Implementing Limits on Grant Support to Strengthen the Biomedical Research Workforce

NIH realizes that, as stewards of the American investment in biomedical sciences, we must do all we can to protect the future of the biomedical research enterprise, taking additional measures regardless of our budget situation. In the opening pages of this blog, we noted that our increasingly hypercompetitive system is threatening the future of biomedical research and of the hundreds of thousands of scientists who we look to for discovering tomorrow’s cures. This is a strange irony, given that the last 25-50 years have been times of extraordinary discovery and progress in basic, translational, and applied science. Death rates from cardiovascular disease have plummeted, and death rates from cancer are falling steadily. Scientists have a much deeper understanding of human biology to the point where this knowledge can drive the design of drugs and biologics. Big data and high-throughput technologies now enable rapid development and testing of hypotheses that previously would have taken years. The successes are myriad. But so are the problems, problems so real that some have gone so far as to write, “It is time to confront the dangers at hand and rethink some fundamental features of the US biomedical research system.”

To improve opportunities for early established mid-career investigators, we will take special steps to identify meritorious applicants who are only one grant away from losing all funding. Prioritizing these applicants for funding consideration may alleviate the squeeze being felt by mid-career investigators.

And we will monitor, on a trans-agency basis, investigators’ Grant Support Index, with the idea that over time and in close consultation with the extramural research community, we will phase in a resetting of expectation for total support provided to any one investigator. We plan to implement a Grant Support Index cap of 21 points, essentially the equivalent of 3 single-PI R01 grants. Over the next few weeks to months, we will meet with NIH Advisory Councils and other stakeholder groups to explore how best to phase in and implement this cap – so that formal assessment of grant support can be used to best inform, on a trans-NIH basis, our funding decisions.

Read the entire Blog here.

NSF Public Access begins for Grants Awarded to Proposals submitted on or after 1/25/2016

Link Here

The National Science Foundation (NSF or Foundation) has developed a plan outlining a framework for activities to increase public access to scientific publications and digital scientific data resulting from research the foundation funds. The plan, entitled “Today’s Data, Tomorrow’s Discoveries,” is consistent with the objectives set forth in the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Feb. 22, 2013, memorandum, “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research,” and with long-standing policies encouraging data sharing and communication of research results.

As outlined in section 3.1 of the plan, NSF will require that either the version of record or the final accepted manuscript in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings or transactions must:

  • Be deposited in a public access compliant repository designated by NSF;
  • Be available for download, reading and analysis free of charge no later than 12 months after initial publication;
  • Possess a minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements in a metadata record to be made available free of charge upon initial publication;
  • Be managed to ensure long-term preservation; and
  • Be reported in annual and final reports during the period of the award with a persistent identifier that provides links to the full text of the publication as well as other metadata elements.

This NSF requirement will apply to new awards resulting from proposals submitted, or due, on or after the effective date of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that will be issued in January 2016.

This recommended change to the PAPPG will be announced in the Federal Register no later than May 2015 and will follow government-wide procedures for public notice and comment.

NSF’s current data management plan requirement and policies on costs of publication and data citation in biographical sketches will remain unchanged for the present while the Foundation undertakes activities to engage the research communities around data management in support of public access goals. Additional guidance at the Foundation, directorate, division, office or program levels may become available in the future. As stipulated in section 3.a.ii of the OSTP Feb. 22, 2013, memorandum, NSF’s plan (section 7.5) discusses a “mechanism for stakeholders to petition for changing the embargo period.”

To receive updates on NSF’s Public Access Initiative, events, and future enhancements to and/or FastLane, subscribe to “System Updates” on the NSF listserv. To subscribe, simply email and you will be automatically enrolled. For general information about NSF, including information on the Public Access Initiative, sign up for email notifications at: NSF Updates.

See also NSF’s Open Government website.

See also Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results.


Article above from NSF’s Website and can be found at the following link:

Weekly NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
May 27, 2016
Table of Contents (TOC)
Web Version





NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards – FY 2016

The following NIH fiscal policies are instituted in FY 2016:

FY 2016 Funding Levels: Non-competing continuation awards that have already been made in FY 2016 were generally funded at levels below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level) as described in NOT-OD-16-002.  In general, such reductions will be fully restored, and non-competing continuation grants (research and non-research) including those that remain to be issued in FY 2016 will be made at the commitment level indicated on the Notice of Award.  Any exceptions will be posted at the site listed under “Additional Information” below.  Out-year commitments for continuation awards in FY 2017 and beyond will remain unchanged.  The NIH awarding Institutes/Centers (IC) will develop and post their fiscal policies consistent with overall NIH goals and available FY 2016 funds.

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA):  Consistent with the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act and with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee to the Director regarding the Biomedical Research Workforce, the NIH will increase NRSA stipends by approximately 2 percent on average.  The full range of stipend adjustments for FY 2016 is described at NOT-OD-16-047.

New Investigators: NIH will continue to support new investigators on R01 equivalent awards at success rates comparable to that of established investigators submitting new (Type 1) R01 equivalent applications.  Achievement of comparable success rates should permit the NIH to support new investigators in accordance with the policies established in FY 2009 and subsequent years as described at and at

Salary Limits: Section 202 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 prohibits payments for salaries under grants and other extramural mechanisms in excess of Executive Level II previously set at $183,300, and effective January 10, 2016, increased to $185,100.  See NOT-OD-16-045 for additional information.

Other Legislative Mandates: Other statutory requirements are described in NOT-OD-16-044.

Additional Information:   Additional details on Fiscal Operations, including specific funding strategies for ICs will be posted at


Please find more information at the following LINK.

NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions and Forms for 2016 Grant Applications


This notice informs the biomedical and health services research communities of planned changes to policies, forms and instructions for grant applications submitted in 2016.

The planned changes focus on the following areas:

  • Rigor and transparency in research
  • Vertebrate animals
  • Inclusion reporting
  • Data safety monitoring
  • Research training
  • Appendices
  • Font requirements
  • Biosketch clarifications

Some of the new policies require additional data collection and updates to our application forms. We have received approval from the Office of Management and Budget to make the needed form updates and we expect to have system support and guidance for these updates in place by March 25, 2016 (NOT-OD-15-146).

In order to move forward with the subset of policies which must remain consistent for all research applications in a funding year, we will implement the policy and guidance changes in two phases.

  • Phase 1: Implements a subset of the policy changes using existing (FORMS-C) forms and updated instructions and will impact due dates on or after January 25, 2016.
  • Phase 2: Completes the implementation with the introduction of new (FORMS-D) forms and instructions and will impact due dates on or after May 25, 2016.


Policy & Guidance Changes – Phase 1

Effective for applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2016

Application Forms
FORMS-C (current forms; already available)

By November 25, 2015, we will update the general and small business (SBIR/STTR) application guides used with FORMS-C application forms. Instructions for individual fellowship applications will be incorporated into the general application guide and no longer maintained as a separate document. These application guides must be used for due dates on or after January 25, 2016, and before May 25, 2016.


Topic Change
Rigor and Transparency* We are changing application requirements and review language to enhance reproducibility of research findings through increased scientific rigor and transparency. These changes will take effect for most research grant applications (including small business and complex research grant applications), but will not impact institutional training and individual fellowship applications until Phase II.

Changes include:

  • Updates to application guide instructions for preparing your research strategy attachment
  • Use of a new “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” attachment (uploaded in Other Attachments section of R&R Other Project Information form)
  • Additional rigor and transparency questions reviewers will be asked to consider when reviewing applications

See NOT-OD-16-011 and NOT-OD-16-012.

Vertebrate Animals* We are removing redundancy with Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee review while meeting the requirements of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Changes include:

  • Updated guidance on criteria to be addressed (description of procedures; justifications; minimization of pain and distress; and euthanasia)
  • A description of veterinary care is no longer required
  • Justification for the number of animals has been eliminated
  • A description and justification of the method of euthanasia is required only if the method is not consistent with AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals

See NOT-OD-16-006.

Note: This change does not apply to AHRQ applications.

Definition of Child* We are redefining the age of a child for the purposes of NIH’s inclusion policy to individuals under 18 years old instead of under 21 years old.

See NOT-OD-16-010.

Note: This change does not apply to AHRQ applications.

Research Training We are updating requirements and instructions for several attachments on the PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan form to reflect recent policy guidance and reduce applicant burden.

Changes include:

  • “Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity” – applicants will be asked to focus on recruitment
  • “Human Subjects” – applicants must describe how the institution will ensure that trainees only participate in exempt human subjects research or non-exempt human subjects research that has IRB approval; no longer necessary to provide a list of potential grants trainees may work on and associated IRB information
  • “Vertebrate Animals” – applicants must describe how the institution will ensure that trainees only participate in vertebrate animal research that has IACUC approval; no longer necessary to provide a list of potential grants trainees may work on and associated IACUC information
  • “Progress Report” – requirement to report on publications that arose from work conducted by the trainee while supported by the training grant will be moved to the Just-in-Time process

*Policy also applies to contracts. See individual contract Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for details.

Policy & Guidance Changes – Phase 2

Effective for applications submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2016

Application Forms
Our updated forms, identified by a Competition ID of “FORMS-D”, must be used for all applications submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2016.

All active Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) will be reissued or updated to include “FORMS-D” forms at least 60 days prior to the first due date on or after May 25, 2016.

We will reissue parent announcements, administrative supplements, research training, career development, individual fellowship and multi-project FOAs that include “Indiv Career Dev”, “Inst Career Dev” or “NRSA Training” component types.

We will add FORMS-D application packages to all other active research FOAs (i.e., update existing FOAs; no reissue).  FORMS-C application packages will be set to expire after the May 7, 2016 AIDS due date. During a short transition period, you will need to select the appropriate application package based on due date.

By March 25, 2016, we will provide new application guides to be used with FORMS-D application forms for due dates on or after May 25, 2016.


Topic Change
Rigor and Transparency* We are extending Phase 1 changes to include institutional training and individual fellowship applications.

We are adding a new “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” attachment to the following forms in FORMS-D application packages:

  • PHS 398 Research Plan
  • PHS 398 Career Development Supplemental Form
  • PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form

New “Plan for the Instruction in Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility” attachment will be added to the PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan form in FORMS-D application packages.

Vertebrate Animals* We are extending Phase 1 changes to include institutional training and individual fellowship applications.

See NOT-OD-16-006.

We are adding new questions regarding euthanasia to the following forms in FORMS-D application packages to replace the euthanasia criteria in the vertebrate animals section:

  • PHS 398 Research Plan
  • PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form

Note: These changes do not apply to AHRQ applications.

Inclusion Forms* We are adding an optional PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report form to FORMS-D application packages.

The new form, with additional study descriptors, will replace the optional Planned Enrollment Report and Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report forms found in FORMS-C application packages.

We will provide more details about these changes prior to release of the updated forms.

Data Safety Monitoring Plans We are adding a new “Data Safety Monitoring Plan” to the following forms in FORMS-D application packages:

  • PHS 398 Research Plan
  • PHS 398 Career Development Supplemental Form
  • PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form
  • PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan

This new attachment must be included with all applications involving clinical trials.

Although the requirement of a data and safety monitoring plan for clinical trials is not new, the use of a separate attachment to collect this information will emphasize its importance and facilitate systematic enforcement of its presence.

Research Training We are changing the research training data table format.

Changes include:

  • Reducing the number of tables from 12 to 8
  • Minimizing the reporting of individual-level information
  • Extending the tracking of trainee outcomes from 10 to 15 years

NIH’s xTRACT system to help applicants prepare the new tables will be available October 16, 2015.

See NOT-OD-16-007.

Appendix Policy We are reevaluating the current appendix policy. A notice describing specific appendix policy changes will be issued by spring 2016.
New PHS Assignment Request Form We are adding an optional PHS Assignment Request Form to FORMS-D application packages to provide a consistent way to collect application referral information, including:

  • Awarding component (NIH institute) assignment preference
  • Study Section preference
  • List of potential reviewers in conflict, and why
  • List of scientific expertise needed to review the application

See NOT-OD-16-008.

New Font Guidelines We are providing additional flexibility regarding the fonts allowed in PDF attachments included in grant applications.

Although we will continue to recommend specific fonts, we will also allow other fonts (both serif and non-serif) as long as they comply with specific type density and line spacing guidelines.

See NOT-OD-16-009.

Biosketch Clarifications We are clarifying biosketch instructions.

Clarifications include:

  • Indicating that a URL for a publication list is optional and, if provided, must be to a government website (.gov) like My Bibliography
  • Allowing publications (peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed) and research products to be cited in both the personal statement and the contributions to science sections
  • Explicitly stating that graphics, figures and tables are not allowed

* Policy also applies to contracts. See individual contract Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for details.



Text from NIH Notice:  NOT-OD-16-004


Simplification of the Vertebrate Animals Section of NIH Grant Applications and Contract Proposals

This Notice is to inform potential applicants and offerors that the requirements of the Vertebrate Animals Section (VAS) of grant applications, cooperative agreements and contract proposals has changed. The changes have been made to remove redundancy with Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee review while meeting the requirements of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Please find link to Announcement here.

Updated VAS Requirements
If live vertebrate animals are to be used, federal policy requires applicants to address the following criteria:

  • Description of Procedures. Provide a concise description of the proposed procedures to be used that involve vertebrate animals in the work outlined in the application or proposal. Identify the species, strains, ages, sex and total number of animals by species to be used in the proposed work. If dogs or cats are proposed, provide the source of the animals.
  • Justifications. Provide justification that the species are appropriate for the proposed research. Explain why the research goals cannot be accomplished using an alternative model (e.g., computational, human, invertebrate, in vitro).
  • Minimization of Pain and Distress. Describe the interventions including analgesia, anesthesia, sedation, palliative care and humane endpoints to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury.
  • Euthanasia. State whether the method of euthanasia is consistent with the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. If not, describe the method and provide a scientific justification.

Anticipated Implementation
These requirements, as applicable, will take effect for all grant applications except Fellowship (F series) and Training (T series) grants for due dates on or after January 25, 2016, and will take effect for all applications for due dates on or after May 25, 2016. For contracts, see individual Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for details.

Summary of Changes
The VAS criteria are simplified by the following changes:

  • A description of veterinary care is no longer required.
  • Justification for the number of animals has been eliminated.
  • A description of the method of euthanasia is required only if the method is not consistent with AVMA guidelines.

See the Vertebrate Animals Section webpage for more information on the VAS requirements. Here you will find a checklist, detailed instructions, plus links to worksheets.

Text from NIH Notice: NOT-OD-16-006

SciENcv Updated to Support New NIH Biosketch Format

In November, NIH announced a new format for biographical sketches (biosketches); the new format is required for grant applications submitted for due dates after May 24, 2015 (see NOT-OD-15-032). SciENcv, a tool available through My NCBI for creating biosketches, has been updated to reflect the format changes and to help users convert their existing NIH biosketches from the old format to the new.

What Changed with the NIH Biosketch

Differences between the old and new NIH Biosketch formats include:

  1. Maximum length increased from 4 to 5 pages
  2. Rearranged data in the table at the top of the Biosketch
  3. Section A, Personal Statement can now include up to 4 supporting citations
  4. Section C is now called “Contribution to Science” and should be comprised of up to 5 brief descriptions of your most significant contributions to science, each with up to 4 supporting citations. In addition,  you may also provide a URL to a full list of your published work as found in a publicly available digital database such as My Bibliography. This section is the most notable difference in the new format.

More information can be found at the following link:

SciENcv Link

PHS Form Use Beyond Expiration Date

Have you ever noticed that potato rolls still taste fresh well after the date on the package? Well, perhaps we shouldn’t dwell on that thought. The point I actually want to make is that lots of things are still good after the date we stamp on them – even grant application forms. Some of you may have noticed our agency-specific (PHS) forms expired yesterday.


At least every three years, we are required to reassess our data collection needs, make any needed adjustments, and submit a data collection clearance request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). We are currently working through that process. Once we have OMB approval, we’ll issue notices in the NIH Guide for Grants & Contracts to tell you more about our pending changes and our implementation plans. In the meantime, continue to use the  current forms – despite the August 31, 2015 expiration date (NOT-OD-15-146). We’ll get fresh forms out to you as soon as we can (yes, “FORMS-D” is in our future). For now, the PHS forms are fresh enough.


Same Great Service, Slightly Different Name

The eRA Commons Help Desk has a new name – eRA Service Desk (NOT-OD-15-147).  The new name reflects the expansion of the team’s role to support additional eRA services like ASSIST.

The contact information, hours of operation, and friendly service remain the same. If you’d like to provide feedback on service you received, you can always email the support management team at Of course, we want to hear when you are unhappy so we have an opportunity to make things right. We also love to hear the happy stuff – that stuff makes our day!

Browsing eRA Systems

Did you know that eRA recommends Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox browsers for use with eRA systems like eRA Commons, Internet Assisted Review and ASSIST (see eRA browser policy)? Many other popular browsers work just fine, but those are the two browsers the eRA team uses to develop and test our systems. If you use a different browser and your screen doesn’t look quite right, try Internet Explorer or Firefox and see if the issue is browser related.

Also, be sure to upgrade your browser periodically. Internet Explorer version 6.0 users may run into issues following some maintenance over the weekend. Yes, there is already an Internet Explorer 11 and version 6 was released 14 years ago, but some of you (and you know who you are) don’t seem to believe in frequent updates.

Originally posted by Sheri Cummins, Communications & Outreach, NIH Office of Extramural Research


NIH PMID vs PMCID: What’s the Difference?

PubMed is an index of the biomedical literature. A PMID, also known as the PubMed reference number, is a number assigned by the NIH National Library of Medicine to papers indexed in PubMed. PubMed Central is an archive of full-text journal articles. The National Library of Medicine assigns a PMCID, also known as a PMC Identifier, to each full-text paper in PubMed Central.
To comply with the public access policy, anyone submitting an application, proposal or report to the NIH must include a PMCID when citing applicable papers that they author or that arise from their NIH-funded research. If it helps to remember, think of the C in PMCID to indicate compliance with the public access policy.

While all abstracts appearing in PubMed are assigned a PMID automatically, NIH awardees may need to take action to obtain a PMCID.  Please remember you need to ensure papers are compliant with the public access policy as soon as the paper is accepted for publication. Try this interactive wizard to determine if your paper falls under the policy, how to bring it into compliance, and how to report it to NIH. We urge you to develop your public access plan as you are writing your paper!

Looking for more information? Visit the public access policy website or contact the help desk at

Originally Posted on August 31, 2015 by NIH Staff

Original Link

More on the topic at NIH Website

NSF Announces Updates to FastLane

Dear Colleagues:On July, 24, 2015, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will release updates to FastLane that may impact the way you work.


As part of NSF’s efforts to reduce the workload associated with manually compliance checking proposals, NSF continues to focus on implementing automated proposal compliance checks. The next series of automated proposal compliance checks will be released in FastLane on July 24 to ensure that proposals submitted in response to Program Solicitations comply with requirements outlined in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (Chapter II.C.2 of the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG)).

The new set of automated compliance checks in FastLane will trigger warning messages if the following proposal sections do not exist for proposals submitted in response to a Program Solicitation for the applicable funding mechanism type (Conference, Equipment, Ideas Lab, Facility/Center, and Fellowship):

–          References Cited

–          Biographical Sketch(es)

–          Budget Justification: Primary Organization

–          Budget Justification: Sub recipient Organization

–          Current and Pending Support

–          Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources

For example, if a Conference proposal submitted in response to a Program Solicitation does not include the Current and Pending Support section (required for certain solicitations), FastLane will trigger a warning message directing the proposer to review the requirements specified in the solicitation.

Warning messages will not prevent a proposal from being submitted.  However, proposals that receive error messages will not be able to be submitted.

Please note that the new set of compliance checks are in addition to the compliance checks that currently exist in FastLane. You can view a complete list of FastLane auto-compliance checks, including the new set, by clicking here. The list specifies which checks are run depending on type of submission (GPG, Program Description, Program Announcement, or Program Solicitation) and funding mechanism (Research, RAPID, EAGER, Ideas Lab, Conference, Equipment, International Travel, Facility/Center, or Fellowship). It also specifies whether the check triggers a “warning” or “error” message for non-compliant proposals.

Additionally, proposers submitting through should be aware that will allow a proposal to be submitted, even if it does not comply with these proposal preparation requirements. Should NSF receive a proposal from that is not compliant, it may be returned without review.

We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues. For system-related questions, contact the FastLane/ Help Desk at 703-292-HELP (x4357) or Policy-related questions should be directed to

Thank you,

The FastLane Team at the National Science Foundation