August 31, 2021

NIH Biosketch and Other Support Clarifications

The Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) has engaged with the leadership of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding questions that COGR member institutions have raised concerning NIH’s Biosketches and Other Support FAQs.

In response, NIH has updated these FAQs to make the following clarifications:

  1. Faculty consulting activities must be reported as Other Support only when the consulting activity involves research and “fall[s] outside of an individual’s appointment” with their home institution.
  2. When consulting activities constitute Other Support, they should be reported as estimates of the amount paid, as opposed to an estimate of time and effort.
  3. Consulting activities do not count towards the 12 calendar months of effort.
  4. NIH will not require the disclosure of completed support (including completed in-kind support) as Other Support, only current and pending support. (FAQs I.B.3 & I.C.5).
  5. Institutions need only go back three years in reporting as Other Support materials that were received from external collaborators. (FAQ I.C.7). NIH has provided separate guidance on when data and resources should be acknowledged in grants. [See, FAQs – Communicating and Acknowledging Federal Funding.]
  6. Information may not be redacted from contracts, agreements, or other supporting documents that are submitted to NIH. (FAQ I.D.8). [Note that this FAQ differs from some prior NIH verbal statements on this topic.]
  7. If a researcher has a foreign appointment, affiliation, and/or employment with a foreign institution, they must provide supporting documentation of that relationship, even if they do not have a formal agreement in place. (FAQ I.D.9).

August 26, 2021

NIH Grant Applications Fall 2021

The National Institutes of Health has issued Clarification and Guidance for Applicants Preparing Applications for the Fall 2021 Due Dates During the COVID-19 Pandemic (NOT-OD-21-180).

The notice states:

The NIH remains firmly committed to supporting the biomedical research enterprise as the nation implements the President’s Guidelines for Re-Opening America Again. The purpose of this Notice is to clarify the guidance provided earlier (NOT-OD-21-026), for applicants preparing applications for the May 2022 Council round, beginning with the September 25, 2021 due date for Fall 2021 initial peer review meetings.

Reviewers will continue to receive instructions to assume that constraints arising from the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., lab occupancy restrictions, declines in patient accrual, etc.) will be resolved during the project period and thus should not affect their scores.

Therefore, NIH grant applications should NOT include contingency or recovery plans for problems resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, applicants may address effects due to the pandemic on productivity or other scoreable issues in their Personal Statement in the NIH Biosketch. Reviewers will be instructed to take these pandemic-related circumstances into account when assessing applicants’ productivity and other score-driving factors.

As with previous instructions, if needed, NIH staff will request and assess plans to resolve specific problems arising from the COVID-19 pandemic prior to funding.