Don’t Forget to Link Your ORCID iD to Your eRA Commons Profile

Everybody from graduate students to senior scientists is encouraged to register for an ORCID account and link it to their eRA Commons personal profile. Starting October 1, 2019, ORCID identifiers will be required for individuals supported by institutional research training, career development, and other research education awards. xTrain appointments will not be accepted for agency review if potential appointees do not have an ORCID iD linked to their eRA personal profile. ORCID iDs will also be required for PD/PIs on individual fellowship and career development applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2020.

For more details, see the full Guide Notice

Original post by NIH 9.4.2019

Project Summary/Abstract and Project Narrative: What’s the Difference and What to Include

When writing an NIH grant application, applicants are asked to develop a Project Summary/Abstract and a Project Narrative, two sections that, if funded, are made available on RePORTER to help the public understand the value of NIH-funded research. Check out the table below to see how they compare and what to include.

Project Summary/Abstract Project Narrative
A succinct and accurate description of the proposed work Communicates the public health relevance of the project to the public
30 lines of text or less No more than 2-3 sentences
Use plain language understandable by a general audience Use plain language understandable by a general audience
Include: the project’s broad, long-term objectives and specific aims, and a description of the research design and methods. Do not include: proprietary or confidential information, or descriptions of past accomplishments. Describe how, in the short or long term, the research would contribute to: the fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems, and/or the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.
If the application is funded, the summary/abstract will be available on RePORTER If the application is funded, the narrative will be available on RePORTER

For more guidance, see the Application Guide for Project Summary/Abstract and Project Narrative.

Original post on 6/28/2019 by NIH Staff

Clarifying Long-Standing NIH Policies on Disclosing Other Support

Who funds your current research?  Make sure to let NIH know.  It is required.

Institutions and investigators must disclose all forms of what is termed “other support” when applying for and receiving NIH grants.  Other support, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (GPS) Section 2.5.1, includes all resources, regardless of whether or not they have monetary value, available in direct support of an individual’s research endeavors.

This is not new, but rather a long-standing requirement for those seeking NIH grants to be fully transparent regarding all of their research activities both domestic and foreign, which is critical for prudent fiscal management, accountability, and stewardship of U.S. taxpayer funds.

So, do you need to report those other NIH grants you have?  YES.  What about a contract from another federal agency?  YES.  Grants or contracts that go through another institution, including institutions in foreign countries?  YES.  Commercial funds?  YES.  Domestic or international positions held by senior/key personnel? YES.  In kind lab or office space?  YES.  Scientific materials?  YES.  Even if it has no monetary value?  YES. Affiliations (even if described as honorary or adjunct) with foreign entities or governments, including talents programs?  YES.

NIH uses this information to ensure that all resources made available to an investigator, including any foreign activities, are considered prior to making an award.  With this in hand, they will know that sufficient levels of effort are committed to the project, there is no scientific, budgetary, or commitment overlap, and only the funds necessary to the approved project are included in the grant award.

NIH recently published a Guide Notice to clarify what is meant by foreign activities as they relate to other support and what NIH expects to be disclosed.  As part of this notice, applicants are reminded they must also promptly notify NIH if previously submitted just-in-time information is substantively changed prior to award or at the time of the progress report, which could lead to budgetary, scientific, or commitment overlap.

Since institutions are the applicants for and recipients of NIH funding, they are responsible for ensuring that all materials submitted to NIH are complete and accurate.  This means they must also ensure individual investigators make all appropriate disclosures to them regarding other support, affiliations, and financial interests.  Sometimes NIH discovers potential issues involving institutions not accurately reporting other support, including foreign support through foreign institutions, associated with their NIH award.  Sometimes it’s because investigators don’t report their foreign research activities to their American institutions.  In such cases, we can take (and have taken) action.  Depending on the severity and duration of the noncompliance (see NIH GPS Section 8.5), NIH may contact the affected institutions, impose specific award conditions, disallow costs, withhold future awards for the project or program, suspend the award activities, make a referral for investigator suspension or debarment, or terminate the award.

NIH wants to be clear that they are focusing their efforts on enhancing research integrity across all their processes and systems.  The extraordinary contributions of foreign nationals to American science are indisputable.  As just one example, 24% of U.S. Nobel prizes have been awarded to foreign-born scientists.  The biomedical research workforce continues to be greatly enriched and strengthened by scientists who come to our shores from many parts of the world.  The overwhelming majority of researchers participating in NIH grants, whether U.S. or foreign-born, are honest contributors to the advancement of knowledge that benefits us all.  Driving away talented scientists from other countries would have a profoundly negative effect on American productivity.

NIH appreciates the efforts of recipient organizations to partner with them to improve reporting of all sources of research support and international collaborative research. These obligations are instrumental to protecting the integrity of biomedical research.  Working together, NIH along with you and your organization can be better assured that federal funding decisions are sound, proprietary information is protected, and compliance with grant terms is achieved.

If you have questions, please refer to the FAQs, the Guide Notice, or send an email to grantscompliance@od.nih.gov for additional assistance.

Original post on 7/11/19 by Mike Lauer/NIH

Hyperlinks in Grant Applications

The do’s and don’ts of hyperlinks in grant applications are simple:

  • Do include hyperlinks when explicitly requested in application guide, funding opportunity, or NIH Guide notice instructions
  • Do use hyperlinks in relevant citations and publications included in biosketches and publication list attachments
  • Don’t use hyperlinks anywhere else in your application

It would be hard to read more than a couple paragraphs on the internet these days without encountering a hyperlink to a definition or additional clarifying information. Hyperlinks are everywhere. So, why does NIH limit the use of hyperlinks in grant applications?

  • Fairness. Key sections of NIH grant applications – Specific Aims, Research Strategies, and Training Program Plans, to name a few – are page limited. Page limits promote fairness by ensuring all applicants have an equal opportunity to present their proposed project. Linking out to additional supporting information negates our page limits.
  • Reviewer Anonymity. We instruct reviewers to rely on the information contained in the grant application and caution them not to follow unrequested links to websites. Website access, especially access to sites controlled by the institution or PI, can be tracked and can compromise reviewer anonymity.
  • Security. Just like clicking on links in phishing emails, following links in grant applications can expose a reader to viruses, malware, or other security threats that can compromise our ability to protect application information.

At the end of the day, risk avoidance may be the most convincing reason to avoid unrequested hyperlinks. NIH may withdraw your application from consideration if you include them. Don’t risk it. Write a compelling, self-contained grant application and let it speak for itself.

Original post by NIH Staff 5/13/2019

Now Available in Research.gov: Support for Collaborative Proposals with Subawards and New SPO/AOR Email Notification

NSF is pleased to announce that as of June 24, 2019, the research community can prepare and submit full, research collaborative proposals with subawards in Research.gov.  This is in addition to the existing capability (since April 2018) to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in Research.gov.  Since that initial release just over a year ago, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has implemented several enhancements to the site, including additional flexibilities for PDF uploads, support for PDFs generated from LaTeX source documents, and compliance checks for fonts and font sizes. Future enhancements to the Research.gov proposal system will allow the preparation and submission of separately submitted collaborative proposals from multiple organizations.

Compared to FastLane, our grants management system launched in 1994, the Research.gov proposal system is much easier to use and provides proposers with faster document uploads and the ability to quickly create and update documents. We encourage you to try the new system, and we are confident that you will agree that this next generation grants management system is more efficient and less burdensome than FastLane.

Also, as of June 24, 2019, a new email notification functionality was implemented to generate Sponsored Project Office (SPO)/Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) email notifications when Principal Investigators (PIs) enable proposal access to SPOs/AORs. A similar email notification is available in FastLane, and we are excited to add the capability in Research.gov.

Modernizing Proposal Preparation and Submission

NSF’s modernization of its FastLane system continues with the goal of improving the user experience to prepare and submit NSF proposals, while also reducing administrative burden for both proposers and NSF staff. As capabilities are migrated from FastLane to Research.gov, the system features will expand until it eventually replaces FastLane for proposal preparation and submission.

 While proposers can still prepare and submit collaborative proposals with subawards as well as full, research non-collaborative proposals in FastLane, NSF encourages the research community to use the new Research.gov proposal system because as NSF continues to enhance the new system incrementally, your vital feedback is being incorporated during the development process.

Preparing and Submitting Proposals in Research.gov

Here’s some of the current Research.gov features that proposers are enjoying:

  • Integrated compliance checks for fonts, margins, and line spacing;
  • Real-time compliance feedback and alerts, so proposers know a proposal section is compliant before moving on to another section;
  • Specific checks on the budget screens and for Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) uploads;
  • A few seconds to upload documents versus 30-90 seconds for each document upload in FastLane; and
  • Embedded relevant sections of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and video job aids, so proposers don’t have to go to multiple sites to access guidance and tools.

Initiating a Proposal in Research.gov

By answering a few questions in the five-step proposal wizard, Research.gov customizes the set-up process and compliance rules for the proposal being created. In addition, the proposal wizard dynamically drives the proposal sections that are required on subsequent screens.

 If you have not done so already, we invite you to initiate a proposal in Research.gov by following the steps outlined below:

  • Open Research.gov and click “Sign In” located at the top right of the screen;
  • Enter your NSF ID and password and click “Sign In;”
  • From the Research.gov “My Desktop” page, click “New! Prepare Proposals (Limited proposal types)” in the “Prepare & Submit Proposals tile” or go to this option from the top navigation bar by selecting the “Prepare & Submit Proposals” tab and clicking on “New! Prepare Proposals (Limited proposal types);”
  • Select the “Prepare Proposal” option in the “Prepare New Proposal” tile on the left side of the Proposal Preparation page; and
  • Follow the five-step proposal wizard to set up the proposal.

 After completing the initiation steps, you are ready to complete all required and optional sections of your proposal and then submit it to NSF.

 Submitting Feedback

NSF wants to hear from you! To submit feedback about the new Research.gov Proposal Preparation and Submission Site:

  • Go to the Research.gov Feedback page;
  • Choose “Other” under the Site Area dropdown menu;
  • Include your feedback in the Comments or Suggestions field; and
  • Click Submit when you are ready to send your feedback to NSF.

 Training Resources and Additional Information

NSF encourages you to share this information with your colleagues. If you have IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or rgov@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

Original post by NSF on 6/24/2019

Sample Grant Applications, Summary Statements, and More

If you are new to writing grant applications, sometimes seeing how someone else has presented their idea can help as you are developing your own application. With the gracious permission of successful investigators, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) makes available examples of funded R01, R03, R15, R21, SBIR/STTR, K, and F applications, summary statements, sharing plans, leadership plans, and more. When referencing these resources, it is important to remember:

  • These applications were developed using the application forms and instructions that were in effect at the time of their submission. Forms and instructions change regularly. Read and carefully follow the instructions in the funding opportunity announcement to which you are responding and the current application instructions carefully.
  • The best way to present your science may differ substantially from the approach taken by those who wrote the example applications. Seek feedback on your draft application from mentors and others.
  • Talk to an NIH program officer in your area of science for advice about the best type of grant program and the Institute or Center that might be interested in your idea.

Check out the NIAID’s Sample Applications and More.

Original post by NIH Staff on 5/1/2019

eRA Information: New Redesigned eRA Website To Be Launched April 30, 2019

The newly redesigned eRA website is planned to launch on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

This new design is based on a year-long survey of eRA website users.  It focuses on intuitive navigation, improved accessibility (508 compliance), more convenient access to Commons, ASSIST and IAR (Internet Assisted Review), while providing critical new and updated “how-to” information.

To get a preview, check out the New eRA Website preview video.

The launch will require downtime of about 2 hours. As a result, the existing eRA website will not be available between 6:30 a.m. ET and 8:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, April 30.

Note that the eRA modules will continue to be operational during the downtime and can be accessed through the following URLs:

eRA will send out an announcement when the new site is officially launched.

 

New features include:

  • Expandable screenshots of systems to better understand what you will see when logged in to a module
  • Hover-over menus that list the content of subpages at a glance
  • Login buttons located at the upper right corner with login links throughout the pages for quicker access to systems
  • Responsive architecture means pages will resize for optimal viewing on tablets and mobile devices

Questions? Please contact the eRA Service Desk. Check out self-help resources on the Help page before submitting an online ticket; or call Toll-free: 1-866-504-9552, Phone: 301-402-7469. The Service Desk hours are Mon-Fri, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET

Grants.gov Mobile App Update Adds New Features

The federal grant application process is anything but simple. From searching for funding opportunities to submitting carefully crafted applications, there are complexities at every turn.

To this end, Grants.gov is always looking for ways to make applicant tasks more convenient. The Grants.gov Mobile App (available for Android and iOS), with its latest update, is a perfect example of this focus.

With convenient new login and submit features coming to the mobile app, applicants can now do even more while they are away from their desk or laptop.

Below is a list of current mobile app features that help make the applicant process more convenient:

  • Search for grants by keyword, CFDA number, and federal agency
  • Browse grant forecasts and opportunities from federal agencies
  • Review eligibility requirements for each grant opportunity
  • Add the Closing Dates for packages to your phone’s calendar app
  • Enter a Grants.gov Tracking Number for a status update on your submission
  • Get quick access to Grants.gov’s Community Blog, Twitter and YouTube channels
  • Subscribe to specific grant opportunities and get notified about changes made by the grant-making agency (login required)
  • Sign and Submit completed applications within the app (Grants.gov Submit privileges are required)
  • Access your application submission history (login required)
  • Receive and manage push notifications from your Grants.gov account (login required)

Original post on April 8, 2019

Updated NIH Policy for Resubmission of New Investigator R01 Applications

The NIH Center for Scientific Review and National Institute of Mental Health will no longer offer a special deadline for new investigator resubmission applications. This change goes into effect starting with R01 applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2019.

Since 2007 NIH had provided new investigators the option of submitting R01 A1 resubmission applications for consecutive review cycles (“next round resubmission”) thinking it would enable new investigators to potentially resubmit applications more rapidly.  The expectation was that the policy would accelerate funding for new investigators.  However, this turned out to be incorrect.  Utilization of the “next round resubmission” policy is low, and it has not made the impact on age of first R01 or in time to award, so they are discontinuing the policy. For more information, see NOT-OD-19-053.

Originally posted by NIH Staff 1/18/19

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

Grants.gov: We expect Grants.gov 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 Grants.gov.

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.