Clarified Guidance for Applicants Preparing Applications During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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We continue to receive questions about how to address issues in grant applications related to lost productivity and other pandemic-related issues. NIH recently issued a clarification indicating that while grant applications should not include contingency or recovery plans for problems resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, investigators may address effects due to the pandemic on productivity or other scoreable issues in the personal statement of the biosketch. Reviewers will be instructed to take these pandemic-related circumstances into account when assessing applicants’ productivity and other score-driving factors. If needed, NIH staff will request and assess plans to resolve specific problems arising from the COVID-19 pandemic prior to funding. This clarification was announced in NOT-OD-21-180.

Applicants should know that NIH will allow the submission of a one-page update with preliminary data as post-submission materials for applications submitted for the May 2022 council (applications submitted beginning with September 25, 2021 due dates for spring 2022 review meetings), provided that the funding opportunity announcement allows preliminary data. As with other type of post submission materials, information must be submitted no later than 30 days before the study section meeting unless specified otherwise in the FOA. One page of preliminary data will be accepted for single component applications or for each component of a multi-component application.

Because applications for emergency competitive revisions and urgent competitive revisions undergo expedited review, post-submission materials will not be accepted for those applications. See details in NOT-OD-21-179.

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