When the public health emergency was first declared, NIH, working with OMB and HHS, quickly identified a long list of flexibilities to support the research community. The list has evolved since the pandemic began, so we would like to take this opportunity to remind the community of many of the current flexibilities we have in place.
There has been a lot of focus on early stage investigator (ESI) extension requests in the community recently. And we certainly understand why. The experience of the COVID-19 public health emergency has brought into sharp focus that the effects of the pandemic on careers and life in general may continue for years to come. This fact has led us to revisit our approach to granting ESI extension requests.
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.
NIH (together with AHRQ and HRSA) will extend the existing COVID flexibilities permitting online training in the responsible conduct of research through December 31, 2021, even if the declared public health emergency is rescinded before then. Grant recipients do not need to seek prior approval to do so.
In a previous post, we looked at the gender distribution of designated principal investigators (PI’s) of R01 and RPG applications submitted before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here we look at NIH R01 and RPG application patterns for January 1 through April 8 over the past 6 years; these applications patterns may well reflect longer-term pandemic effects.
NIH recently released its updated Strategic Plan for COVID-19 Research, available on the NIH COVID-19 website. Responses to a Request for Information helped inform this iteration, building on progress since the 2020 plan. The updated strategic plan highlights progress made in the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, along with developing strategies on how to effectively provide these resources.
Continuation of Temporary Extension of Eligibility for the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Under normal circumstances, individuals must have no more than four years of postdoctoral research experience to be eligible to apply for a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence award. Due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, NIH will be extending the two-receipt cycle extension (roughly eight additional months) of eligibility for prospective, eligible candidates for a K99/R00 application.
You likely know that for human-participant research funded wholly or in part by NIH, we automatically issue Certificates of Confidentiality (CoCs) as a term and condition of award. CoCs protect identifiable, sensitive information of people who participate from being disclosed to others not associated with the study. But, for human-participant research funded by an entity other than NIH, did you know that you can reach out to us to request a CoC as well? Read on for more!
Reminder: NIH Will Continue to Accept Preliminary Data as Post-Submission Material Through January 2022 Council
In recognition of the fact that COVID-19 may still be adversely affecting the ability of applicants to generate preliminary data, NIH will continue to accept a one-page update with preliminary data as post-submission materials for applications submitted for the January 2022 Council (beginning with applications submitted for the May 25, 2021 due date for Fall 2021 review meetings), ONLY if the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) used for submission allowed preliminary data in the application.
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Extramural Scientific Workforce – Outcomes from an NIH-Led Survey
At NIH, we recognized the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic could adversely affect the biomedical workforce, particularly members of underrepresented groups and vulnerable populations. In October 2020, NIH fielded two online surveys to objectively document COVID-19’s impact on extramural research. One survey assessed the perspective of individual research administration leaders at extramural institutions, and the other survey assessed the perspective of the researchers themselves. In this post, we offer a high-level overview of general trends noted within both surveys.