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June 4, 2008

News Articles

Opportunities and Resources

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

News Articles
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Reminder Regarding rDNA Research

Are you conducting recombinant DNA research? Be sure you follow the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules. In cases of noncompliance, NIH can suspend or terminate funding.

With the use of rDNA becoming more prevalent, it's important to properly construct and handle rDNA molecules as well as organisms and viruses containing such molecules.

The NIH Guidelines put everyone on the same page with details on safety considerations, roles and responsiblities, and experiments that come under its purview, including Major Actions.

Speaking of major actions, NIH's Office of Biotechnology Activities (OBA) has posted Frequently Asked Questions to clarify pre-approval requirements for this type of experiment.

You may think the NIH Guidelines are new, but the final version was published in 2002 with several iterations preceding it. What's more, the NIH Guidelines reflect safeguards first drawn up at the Asilomar Conference on rDNA back in 1975.

For resources on rDNA, including latest news, go to OBA's rDNA and Gene Transfer Web page.

If you have questions, contact Gene Rosenthal, OBA's biotechnology program advisor, at 301-496-9838 or

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DAIDS Thanks You...Twice

Thank you to everyone who responded to the two Division of AIDS' Requests for Information:

Your feedback is important, and we will use your ideas to shape these and future funding opportunities.

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Webinar to Brief Grantees and Others on RCDC

If you haven’t heard by now, NIH is developing a new electronic tool for budget reporting called Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC).

The tool will provide Congress and the public with consistent NIH-wide reports on the amounts of money allocated to more than 300 predetermined research areas, conditions, and diseases. Many of these categories, such as influenza and autoimmune diseases, pertain to NIAID-supported research.

Most categories are generated by a unique fingerprint, which defines a category using a list of terms and concepts and then searches for matching terms in individual projects.

Some categories, such as AIDS and biodefense, will combine RCDC with a manual approach since Congress requires the NIH to budget a specific amount each year for those areas.

To prepare for the February 2009 launch, NIH is hosting a Web-based video seminar, or webinar, on Wednesday, June 11 at 2 p.m. to introduce the RCDC system to representatives from professional scientific societies, advocacy groups, and grantee institutions. To view the webinar, visit NIH VideoCasting on or after June 11.

For more information, check out Reporting Considerations When Writing Your Application and our December 5, 2007, article, "Help NIH Categorize Research Spending." You can also explore the newly launched Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC) Project Web site.

Watch for more RCDC updates as we approach the February 2009 launch.

Opportunities and Resources
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Look Again at Bioethics Resources

Training and funding opportunities, case studies, and contacts are just a few of the links you'll find on NIH's Bioethics Resources on the Web.

Even if you've seen it before, look again. NIH just updated its international section, International Issues and Codes, with resources on international ethical codes, regulations, and policies.

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How to Save Time Searching PubMed

To make sure you're getting the most out of PubMed searches, check out the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Online Training. Each tutorial takes only a few minutes, and you can learn tips to make searches more efficient.

The National Network of Libraries offers a one day class on PubMed. See the PubMed Class Information/Training Calendar to register.

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NIH's RePORT Tool, New Home for CRISP

If you haven't seen it yet, check out NIH's new Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool. RePORT compiles a wealth of up-to-date reports and data on NIH's research and development activities.

RePORT is also the new home for CRISP, Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects. Many improvements are planned; see a summary at CRISP on RePORT.

Advice Corner
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What's Up With Paylines?

Paylines are a moving target: they don’t arrive till late winter or early spring, are subject to change, and by late summer are gone.

Now that we are in the third quarter of the fiscal year, our paylines are finally set -- for the time being. We just raised the R03 and R21 paylines to 150 priority score on May 22, just a few weeks after setting the payline at 140.

That type of fluctuation is typical for application types other than the R01, whose payline is stable until the very end of the fiscal year.

Toward the end of a fiscal year, which starts now, other paylines tend to go up as the budget picture gets clearer, i.e., we get a handle on application numbers, scores, and budget requests.

Why You Don't See Paylines

For much of the year, we can't post any payline information online.

Around the end of August, we will take down our paylines from the Web. They are no longer relevant because applications within the paylines are either funded or committed for funding.

Don’t expect to see much budget-related information online in the fall and early winter. Until NIH receives its budget, NIAID sets administrative (or interim) paylines for R01s and some other grant types so we can start funding the best scoring grants. These paylines are temporary, and we don't send Email Alerts for them.

Even after we get a budget, it takes our budget office several weeks to crunch the numbers to determine the paylines. Over the next several weeks or even months, we start posting paylines for all grant types.

September Council: Next Fiscal Year

May Council -- this year's was on May 27 -- is the last meeting for funding applications for the current fiscal year.

If Council approves your application for funding at the September meeting, we will fund it in the next fiscal year. Those applications, submitted for the May receipt dates and reviewed in the summer are subject to the next fiscal year's paylines, which are unknown. Thus, the payline you see online -- for the current fiscal year -- will not apply to you.

And because we do not have a budget early in the fiscal year, applicants whose applications are reviewed at September Council usually have to wait to get their grants. You may want to contact the program officer noted on the summary statement to determine your next steps.

Be sure to subscribe to the budget interest category in Email Alerts to get regular notifications each time we set or change a payline for any mechanism NIAID supports. Read more at Paylines and Budget Page Changes Throughout the Year and Part 10. Funding Decisions in the NIH Grant Cycle: Application to Renewal.

New Funding Opportunities
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See these and older announcements on our NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

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