Getting Research Back on Track


Hi everyone!  NIH is back up and running and we are here.

I want to begin by thanking all of you for the incredible patience and support you displayed during the past tumultuous weeks. I kept in touch by reading social media, the press, and your own communications, and was amazed at the overarching support you displayed for NIH.  Our strong partnership and the value of  research we all do was recognized and appreciated by the public, so much so that NIH and its magnificent mission became a central part of the discussion of why shutdown should end as quickly as possible.

However, the shutdown came at one of our busiest periods and it is going to take some time to bring the extramural program back to full strength.  As of today we can confirm that we will be rescheduling all October grant application submission deadlines to dates in November so that applicants will have access to NIH staff, help desks, and electronic systems. The specific revised due dates will be published in the NIH Guide as soon as we worked them out. We expect the eRA Commons and other NIH extramural electronic systems to be up and accessible to the public on Monday, October 21.

Review meetings were missed during the shutdown will need rescheduling and others that were to occur right now or next week may also will need to be cancelled to allow reviewers enough time to have access to applications and complete their reviews. Please stay tuned here and to the NIH Guide for more information.  I anticipate a flurry of Guide notices over the next week as we communicate our plans.

Talk to you again tomorrow.


  1. Will due dates that are currently set for the end of October (October 28th, 2013 is a due date for one of the grants I am preparing for) also be postponed to November?

  2. Do you anticipate that the Nov 5th submission date for R01 resubmissions will stay as is or be pushed back some?
    Thank you!

  3. I am deeply concerned, to say the least, Sally. Now that the Feds have turned the lights back on, how hard is NIH (and ultimately extramural scientists) going to be hit by the new round of budget cuts and sequestered funds? I have an honest question: is it even worth submitting proposals at this time if the likelihood of having the funds to score even the best of the best proposals is rapidly approaching ZERO? Is it even worth it to go through the motions? I feel like we are in a free fall as NIH-funded researchers … and that politicians are successfully creating a scientific vacuum that is going to destroy the structure of what was once the best system in the world. Case in point, I am losing a very promising junior scientist this week who was unable to get her K award funded (scored in the top 8%-ile) and she is now going to a lab in MALTA.

  4. Please try to reschedule the cancelled study sections within this Council round — do not postpone them until Feb. Using asynchronous IAR is painless and does not require superhuman coordination of schedules. The amount of cascading problems that a long delay will cause, not to mention the wasted time of grants that were read and reviewed during the shutdown, will far exceed the downside of just doing a short-term crunch to work through the backlog now.

  5. Sally, what about deadlines for deposition/registration of publications under the public access policy?

    1. We have not made any changes to the public access process or deadlines. Under the policy, final peer-reviewed manuscripts should be submitted to the NIHMS upon acceptance for publication and posted to PubMed Central no later than three months after publication. Papers accepted for publication during the shutdown should be submitted to the NIHMS now. Please see this submission process page on the NIH Public Access website for additional information. Also note, under the revised guidance for resuming activities after the shutdown (NOT-OD-14-007), due dates for Research Performance Progress Reports that were due between October 1 and October 21 have been extended to November 4, 2013.

  6. Is it true that January council meetings will be cancelled and decisions on funding will be delayed to the next round?

  7. So, news leaking out today seems very concerning, indicating that the regular study sections have all been “erased” for this cycle, and the grants then doubling up for next cycle. My NCI Special Emphasis Panel from last week is meeting at the end of the month. I assume many if not all other SEPs are being similarly rescheduled after minor delays. It is a mystery why we can’t use the “all hands on deck” approach for the regular panels as well. No matter how you do it, the review will not be up to usual standards and the scores may be even less predictable or comparable, but this happens to individual panels all the time when there is a snow storm, etc. Seems like we could all try to make this work and rearrange our schedules, including pushing some of the delay into the next cycle if necessary. Not a great time to just punt!

  8. The news leaking out today that applications that were to be reviewed during the government shutdown will be withdrawn and have to be resubmitted in the next cycle is disturbing. Years of preparations by researchers who’s careers are dependent on these reviews will be put in peril because the agency closed for a couple of weeks? Why can’t the reviews be rescheduled and why can’t the applications already in the system be reviewed instead of doubling up the grant reviews in the next cycle?

    1. I agree. It’s unclear why the grants that were to be reviewed over the past two weeks have to be held until the February/March review cycle. How does this approach serve the best interests of the applicants or the reviewers?

  9. I reiterate the concerns relayed above regarding cancellation of study section meetings for this round. A five month delay in grant reviews may be career-ending for many scientists who do not have much institutional support in the interim. Please re-consider this decision, and re-schedule study sections ASAP. If reviews are completed by December, that seems like sufficient time for January council.

    1. My sincere request, please do not cancel fall VCMB meeting. I concur with “concerned scientist” comment, it will be career ending for many scientists.

  10. I also concur with other scientists that the elimination of this review cycle and a 5 month delay will be the end of many scientists careers, specially junior faculty who had been struggling to get funded in the current conditions. Also, if this is pushed to the next cycle, would it be two review meetings or one with double the amount of grants but no increase in funding percentiles? This is extremely alarming. Please reconsider this decision.

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