May 06, 2009

New NIH Business Process for Documenting Changes in Scope for Proposed Research Projects

The National Institutes of Health has announced a new process for submitting revised Project Summary/Abstracts, Specific Aims, and/or Public Health Relevance Statements when changing the scope of proposed research projects. For example, NIH grant applications may require reductions in scope in order to be accomplished in the two years or less required by the Recovery Act.


When requested by NIH, principal investigators and applicant organization officials should discuss potential changes in scope with NIH program officials, then revise sections of the application as appropriate. Applicants should email the final version of the revised sections to a designated email address as a single attached Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF file. (NIH reminds applicants that all revised application information submitted to the NIH must be approved by an Authorized Organizational Representative.)

The Word or PDF document must include three headings, listed below, even if a particular section had no changes from the previous submission. If there are no changes for a section, the header should be included in the document but the text area should be left blank. This will ensure appropriate processing by electronic systems at NIH. The May 5 NIH Guide Notice includes links to Word and PDF templates that include these headings.

Document Headings

1. Modified Project Summary/Abstract Section
Provide a summary of the proposed activity suitable for dissemination to the public. It should be a self-contained description of the project and should contain a statement of objectives and methods to be employed. It should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields and insofar as possible understandable to a scientifically or technically literate lay reader. This abstract must not include any proprietary or confidential information. This section must be no longer than 30 lines of text.

2. Modified Specific Aims Section
List the broad, long-term objectives and the goal of the specific research proposed, for example, to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology. One page is recommended.

3. Modified Public Health Relevance Section
Using no more than two or three sentences, describe the relevance of this research to public health. In this section, be succinct and use plain language that can be understood by a general, lay audience.