NIH just announced that, like Requests for Applications (RFAs), Program Announcements with special receipt, referral, and/or review considerations (PARs) and Program Announcements with set-aside funds (PASs) may now include criteria that would make an application non-responsive (i.e., outside the scope of the PAR/PAS).
You’ve likely seen PARs and PASs highlight areas of scientific interest in the funding opportunity description (Part 2, Section 1). This practice will continue. In that same section, however, you may also see a new “Applications Not Responsive to this FOA” subheading with explicit non-responsive criteria. Read the full description section carefully. Applications that are deemed non-responsive will be withdrawn from review. Since it is institute/center/office staff (not our receipt and referral staff) that check for responsiveness, your application may be assigned for review and later withdrawn prior to the review meeting.
Applicants to PARs and PASs with non-responsive criteria included are strongly encouraged to contact the applicable Program Official (i.e., Scientific Contact) listed on the FOA to discuss the proposed project and fit prior to submitting.