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February 6, 2008

News Articles

Opportunities and Resources

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

News Articles
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Unscored Application? Not a Reason to Give Up

Often applicants think an unscored result spells doom for their application, but that interpretation can be counterproductive.

Reviewers generally discuss and score applications in the top half of those the study section receives; the rest are unscored. In today's budget environment, high-quality applications might be unscored because the pool contains a lot of outstanding applications, including resubmissions (which have already addressed the study section's concerns). 

If your application is unscored, stay objective, and spend time figuring out what areas reviewers felt had problems:

  • First, read the reviewers critiques carefully to assess the seriousness of the problems -- are they fixable?
  • Next, get advice from your program officer and experts in your institution.

If the problem is fixable, revise. Even if you don't agree with the reviewers' comments, address all of their concerns in your revised application.

Don't give up just because your application is unscored. Many applications do not succeed on the first try. NIH gives you three tries to succeed: the initial application and two revisions.

Even if you don't succeed after three tries, you can keep your ideas alive. Place the best parts of your original application in a new one, so you can continue to pursue funding.

Our Research Funding site has lots of practical advice and strategies to help you revise and resubmit. Go to Part 11b. Not Funded, Reapply in the NIH Grant Cycle: Application to Renewal and visit Advice for Resubmission and Unfunded Applicants questions and answers.

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Small Business Investigators Can Be "New"

According to NIH's latest definition of a new PI, you are still "new" even if you were a PI on STTR Phase I (R41) or SBIR Phase I (R43). For more information on the definition of a new investigator, see Are You "New"? in our New Investigator Guide to NIH Funding.

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New Financial Management Plan

Our FY 2008 financial management plan is now online at Paylines and Budget. Some good news: we are not reducing funding levels for competing awards. For more information, see NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards -- FY 2008.

Read our January 16, 2008, article “NIAID’s FY 2008 Budget – Not As It Appears to Be” for NIAID's appropriation level.

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Maximum PI Salary Rises

If you're funded under an NIH grant or contract, you can now request a salary up to $191,300 rising from $186,600 in 2007. The salary is capped by law at executive level I of the federal executive pay scale. Read more in the January 15, 2008, Guide notice.

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Check Out the Guide and Other Announcements

Are you reading the NIH Guide? If not, here are some announcements you missed.

Interested in international human subjects research? You may want to check out the 2008 edition of The International Compilation of Human Subject Protections is online.

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You Really Like NIAID's Web Site

You told us what you thought of the NIAID Web site, and we listened. The site went up six points on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) over the past year and a half. ASCI score is based on content, functionality, look and feel, navigation, performance, and search.

Keep sending your feedback on the NIAID site at Contact Us. If you have specific suggestions for the Research Funding section, email

Opportunities and Resources
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Pathways to Protein and Pathogen Research

Are you interested in exploring the dynamic protein interactions of infectious disease pathogens? Check out the National Technology Centers for Networks and Pathways (NTCNPs).

The centers develop new ways to study the dynamics of molecular interactions within cells. They then share their findings and technology with the research community.

NTCNPs not only allow investigators to work collaboratively but also offer access to unique imaging and quantitative methods.

Several NIAID investigators are already collaborating with NTCNP investigators. Check out which centers might have resources or collaboration opportunities for your research.

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One Application -- Potentially Two Awards

Are you looking for HIV or AIDS funding? NIAID's Division of AIDS has two innovation award programs: Phased Innovation Program in AIDS Vaccine Research and HIV Proteins and Their Cellular Binding Partners.

Both initiatives are R21/R33 awards, so you write only one application that has both R21 and R33 components. This approach allows you to focus on the research without worrying about writing another application.

  • Phased Innovation Program in AIDS Vaccine Research supports prophylactic vaccine research projects that are innovative or novel, may be high risk or have high impact, and show the potential to advance AIDS vaccine design or evaluation. We welcome all areas of investigation contributing to the development of an efficacious HIV/AIDS vaccine. This initiative does not cover clinical trials.
  • HIV Proteins and Their Cellular Binding Partners promotes collaborations between biochemists and structural biologists to define the interactions of HIV and host-cell proteins towards determining the three-dimensional structure of these complexes. Although the atomic structures of most of the enzymatic and structural proteins have been determined, few interactions of HIV proteins with cellular components are defined. The difficulty in solving complexes containing HIV proteins is that they often adopt different conformations based on transient interactions with cellular proteins throughout viral replication. Understanding these interactions will provide new insights into the pathogenesis of HIV and may yield new therapeutic targets.

In the first phase (R21), you test the project in milestone-driven exploratory and feasibility studies. Next if the R21 is successful, NIAID reviews the project for an expanded development award (R33), and you have little or no lapse in funding.

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New AIDS Research Funding Opportunities

Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) announces two new funding opportunities:

Faculty-level researchers affiliated with a nonprofit institution can qualify for a one-year grant of up to $120,000. Two-year fellowships provide $125,000 in total funding to postdoctoral or equivalent investigators sponsored by an experienced investigator.

To apply, send your presubmission form by February 12, 2008. You can receive amfAR grant opportunities using the e-Publications Sign-Up Form.

Advice Corner
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Reader Questions

Brian Shim, University of Illinois at Chicago, asks:

"Do subcontractors need a Commons account? May a subcontractor subcontract another organization?"

No. Subcontractor organizations do not need to register with eRA Commons. Keep in mind that all subcontractors must have a direct subcontract with the awardee institution. NIAID does not allow a subcontractor to use a subcontract.

Barbara Butcher, Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, asks:

"Do new investigators receive any special consideration when applying for an R21?"

Both new and experienced investigators apply for the smaller, two-year R21 to introduce novel scientific ideas, model systems, and technologies that have the potential to substantially advance biomedical research.

As a new investigator, you do get some special consideration in that reviewers take into account you'll have fewer resources and publications than more established researchers do.

Data show that new and experienced investigators fare equally well in obtaining an R21.

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

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