NIH Grant Basics: That post-Council pause
September 29, 2010
My feed for writedit’s comments keeps being populated with impatient applicants who have managed to land a decent-looking score on a NIH grant proposal. See this one.
The September council met on the 21st, and I have heard nothing. My R01 was scored at the 12th percentile and I am an ESI. I haven’t heard a thing yet, and my Commons status is “Council Review Completed.”
or this one:
The council meeting was over on September 1, and 3rd, mt erA commons sais `council review completed’. It still says the same. My PO is unreachable (has gone back to India until October 1st week). Does this mean I did not get the grant?
for the type.
This is understandable, given the importance of each grant award to the PI in question. But still, this is not mysterious stuff here folks. The timeline for getting a grant awarded is pretty clear.
Let’s take the current Fall Council rounds as an example. The applicants submitted their proposals back in Feb-Mar in most cases- with continuing submission, HIV-related grants and the odd RFA-related study sections, anywhere from January to mid April. These proposals were reviewed for the most part in Jun-Jul with the applicants receiving their scores about a week after the meeting and the summary statements several weeks later.
So they’ve been waiting a long time already. A borderline score makes things extra important when it comes to information about likely funding. Will the proposal sneak under the wire after all funds are accounted for in the IC? Will it really have zero chance, no matter the theoretical nonzero chance? Should, in point of fact, the applicant busy herself with revising the proposal for November or working on a new one for October? Or start planning preliminary studies for a Feb/Mar submission?
But folks, this part of the process is readily understandable.
Even if you have a 1%ile grant, NIH is not going to tell you it is funded until the Notice of Award is actually prepared. And that takes place in the week or two just before the first possible funding date. In this scenario, December 1. So no, you will not hear anything definitive until late November at the very earliest. Stop driving yourself crazy asking over at writedit’s place if the Commons status line will tell you anything. It won’t.
Now the bad news is that this particular round for funding has an extra-special annoying caveat. It is the first one of the new US federal fiscal year. That means that the ICs can’t commit to new awards until Congress passes the appropriations bill funding the NIH for the next year.
They never seem to get that passed on time and it often waits until Congress returns from vacation in late Jan/early Feb.
Sorry about that but you just have to chill.