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September 3, 2008

News Articles

Opportunities and Resources

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

News Articles
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Paylines: What to Expect for FY 2009

Though nothing is final yet about next year's budget, we do have some preliminary information to share with you. One of NIAID's priorities has been to maintain our paylines despite flat budgets during the last five years, which we do in part by cutting initiative-based grant and contract programs.

For fiscal year 2009, we plan to set our interim R01 payline at the 10 percentile. Once we receive a budget, we hope to reach the 12 percentile for the actual R01 payline.

Why use an interim payline? Congress usually does not pass our appropriations bill by October 1, so we expect to operate under a continuing resolution. At that point, we must proceed cautiously because a continuing resolution keeps our funding at the same level as the previous fiscal year, and the final budget is still unknown.

By using the lower interim paylines, we can fund very high-scoring applications and stay within our budget while we wait for Congress to pass the appropriations bill.

When can you expect to see new payline information on our Paylines and Budget page? That depends on our receiving our annual appropriation from Congress. Timing varies each year.

Even after we have a budget, don't expect to see paylines right away. Our budget office will spend several weeks determining new paylines for the various activity codes.

To understand how and why paylines evolve during the year, read Paylines and Budget Page Changes Throughout the Year.

Stay Alert

Here are two ways you can keep up with payline information:

Once we begin receiving our true paylines, we will send you alerts as the information comes in. We do not send Email Alerts for the interim payline.

For more information on the budget process, see Appropriations Set the Dollars and When We Don't Get a Budget.

Read more about paylines at Paylines Are a Conservative Funding Cut Point.

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Concepts for New Initiatives -- Should You Tune In?

Would you believe us if we told you where to find Institute priorities that could give you a funding leg up?

Our most experienced investigators know what to do: after each Council meeting, they tune into our Concepts Approved by Council page to get a sneak peak at possible future initiatives (for example, a request for applications -- RFA).

Though concepts come with no guarantee we will ever issue an initiative, it doesn't matter. What counts is the window they give you into Institute priorities, where we may be adding future money or funding high-quality, investigator-initiated applications.

Take Advantage of Concepts

Like the grantmanship experts, anyone can tap into Institute priorities by using concepts in the following ways:

  • Write an investigator-initiated application based on a concept in your area of expertise.  
    • Even if we never publish an initiative, your application could have a funding edge because of the importance of the topic.
    • If we do publish an initiative later, you will still have submitted a high-priority application.
  • Get a heads-up on potential initiatives, so you can prepare early in case you will want to respond to a request for applications or program announcement.

You can use the topic of a concept to guide the direction of your application and start gathering preliminary data.

Applying with an investigator-initiated application in an area of high priority to NIAID is a powerful strategy that keeps you in your area of expertise, boosting your chances of success. Read more under the Blend the Approaches header in the Compare FOAs section of NIH Grant Cycle: Application to Renewal.

For applications that score beyond the payline, NIAID is more likely to fund high-quality research in priority areas with an R56-Bridge award or through selective pay. Even that small possibility of a funding advantage can be critical in a tight budget era.

Get the Scoop

After we post new Council-approved concepts, you can check whether your expertise lends itself to any of the topics. If it does, you may want to get more information from the contact person listed in the concept document. We post concepts at Opportunities and Announcements a few weeks after the Council meeting -- see Council Meetings.

Or you can find out immediately with an Email Alert. Check the concepts category when you Subscribe to Email Alerts or add that category to your existing subscription.

Read more about concepts and how they are developed at Using Concepts to Your Advantage.

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Clinical Trial Applications at NIAID -- How We're Different

A recent report in the American Journal of Medicine paints a glum picture of the prospects of clinical trial applications in peer review, but the findings are minimally relevant to NIAID.

That report, Why Are Peer Review Outcomes Less Favorable for Clinical Science than for Basic Science Grant Applications?, looked at the peer review of investigator-initiated R01 applications at NIH's Center for Scientific Review (CSR).

But virtually none of NIAID's investigator-initiated clinical trial applications are reviewed at CSR; we use our own means to solicit, review, and fund clinical trials.

NIAID uses two main ways to support clinical trials: clinical trials networks and clinical trials grants.

Clinical Trials Networks

We fund most of our clinical trials through large networks, such as the HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Networks, Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units, or Immune Tolerance Network, which we announce as requests for applications or requests for proposals.

Reviewed at NIAID, these networks are comprised of researchers who run the clinical trials and perform the laboratory research, administrative support, and statistical and data management.

If you are interested in conducting a clinical trial in collaboration with a network, you may contact the network directly or contact a program officer in the relevant program division. See Contact Staff for Help.

Clinical Trials Grants

PIs who seek support for investigator-initiated clinical trials from NIAID must first apply for a Clinical Trial Planning Grant (R34) and subsequently for a Clinical Trial Implementation Cooperative Agreement (U01). We review these applications in special emphasis review panels where they compete against other clinical applications only.

To help applicants prepare for their research, an R34 provides support to gather the tools, team, and documentation required for a clinical trial. NIAID must preapprove your R34 submission.

After finishing work on the R34, you may apply for a U01 to conduct the clinical trial, if we approve.

This approach lets you benefit from the involvement of NIAID staff early on. However, awards are highly competitive, and we must approve your requests to submit your R34 and U01 applications.

If you're interested in applying, read the Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial Planning and Implementation Grants SOP and find other information at Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trials Resources.

You can also check our NIH Funding Opportunities Relevant to NIAID to find relevant funding opportunity announcements for all NIAID's clinical research opportunities.

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Delay Is OK for Applications Affected by Storms

As NIH reminded you in its August 28, 2008, Guide notice, you can submit an application or report, such as a progress or financial status report, late if one of the recent hurricanes closed your facility. This is standard NIH practice that applies to all such disasters.

Include a cover letter noting the reasons for the delay. You do not need to ask permission, and the delay should not exceed the time your institution closed for business.

Remember that expanded authorities allow you to rebudget funds or extend a grant period for up to 12 months without our approval. Read your Notice of Award to see if you have automatic carryover and our Carryover Requests SOP.

Opportunities and Resources
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Let Our Checklists Help You Write Your Application

No time to read our grant-writing advice in the NIH Grant Cycle: Application to Renewal? Try out our new Checklists for the NIH Grant Cycle for a shortcut to our pointers and tips.

At a fraction of the size of the Cycle, the Checklist's bullets recap action items, advice, and pitfalls on planning and writing applications, including unsuccessful and renewal applications, and managing a funded grant.

Each Checklist section links to the relevant Cycle pages where you can find more detailed information.

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Apply for a Conference Grant Well in Advance

If you’re thinking about applying for a Conference Grant (R13), send in a non-AIDS application nine months before the meeting, or submit an AIDS application six months beforehand.

That schedule applies to study section members too.

NIAID funds only future events, so if we miss your conference, we can't fund it later.

Before you apply, don't forget to send us a letter requesting permission. You should also read our Conference Awards SOP for more important information.

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Get In On the SBIR Niche Assessment Program

Good news for FY 2008 or FY 2009 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) phase I awardees! You are eligible to participate in the newly renewed Niche Assessment Program.

Here's how the program works. An NIH contractor, Foresight Science and Technology, will assess potential uses of the technology in your grant and prepare a Technology Niche Analysis report. This report may help you prepare the commercialization plan required for your SBIR phase II application. 

Act fast -- there are only seventy-five slots for all NIH. The assessment should only take a few hours, and it's free. For more details, see the August 6, 2008, Guide notice.

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Learn How to Avoid Conflicts of Interest

As we told you before, NIH is serious about making sure its funded investigators do not have a financial conflict of interest with their research. 

You can find several online resources to learn how to meet federal requirements. Check out our Financial Conflicts of Interest for Awardees SOP, NIH's new Financial Conflict of Interest Tutorial, and NIH's Conflict of Interest page.

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Check Out IACUC Workshops

If you missed the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare's (OLAW) workshop in August, you could attend the program in September. The workshops will be held in San Francisco, CA, on September 23 and 24.

The IACUC 101 Series gives institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) members, administrators, veterinarians, researchers, and others information on the role and responsibilities of IACUCs through two courses.

  • IACUC 101 provides a basic overview of the laws, regulations, and policies that govern the humane care and use of laboratory animals and suggests possible approaches for successful and effective administration.
  • IACUC 201 takes the fundamentals of IACUC 101 and shows you how to apply the fundamentals to ensure compliance.

For more information, see OLAW's IACUC 101 Series.

To see other OLAW events, see Workshops and Conferences.

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It's Time for PEPFAR Submissions

Host countries and other partners of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have until September 12, 2008, to submit their public health evaluation projects for fiscal year 2009. People considering collaborating with these activities should contact the country team now.

Read more in the NIH Guide: Planning of PEPFAR–Supported Public Health Evaluation (PHE) Studies.

We'll tell you more about the PEPFAR reauthorization and our role in our next issue.

Advice Corner
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Citing NIH Support: Don't Make This Mistake

We know you want to comply with the citation requirements we discussed last year in Always Cite Us in Your Publications, but be sure not to go too far. Some investigators have been mistakenly citing NIH grants for publications that their grant did not directly support.

To meet citation requirements, follow these rules:

  • Mention only the NIH grant or grants that directly supported the published research.
  • Don't cite grants that pay for a different line of work, even if they pay part of your salary.

If you cite grants not directly related to the research, it can cause data mining problems for the research community and NIH.

You can read the official requirement at Rights in Data (Publications and Copyrighting) in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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Reader Question

Emeka N. Madubuike, C.R.A., M.M.A, Emory University, asks:

"May a K24 PI use his or her K24 award to meet the cost-sharing requirement for other federal awards?"

It depends on the cost-sharing requirements of the other federal agency. Check with the agency that requires the cost sharing to see if there are any restrictions.

New Funding Opportunities
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See these and older announcements on our NIH Funding Opportunities Relevant to NIAID.

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