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.