NIH issues new grant submission dates, reschedules meetings, offers "refresh" opportunity

October 18, 2013

NOT-OD-14-003 has hit the streets and it gives us the replacement submission deadlines.

New R01s are due November 12

New R21s are due November 18

If you already submitted a grant for these October deadlines there will be an opportunity to pull it and replace it under the new deadlines.


November grant application due dates will not change (with the exception of the Loan Repayment program deadline listed above).

There is also comment on the rescheduling of the study section meetings.

Applications that were reviewed before the shutdown will go to January council as originally planned. Review meetings for most small business, AIDS and fellowship applications will continue as planned and those applications will be considered at January councils as well.
Many review meetings for research grants (R01, R03, R21, R15, etc) and career development applications that were missed or will be missed due to the shutdown will be rescheduled for February/March and these applications will be reassigned to the May council round.

Damn. That sucks for those of us who had grants in.

As I hypothesized, there will be a slight benefit extended.

Applications will proceed to the February/March 2014 review without any action from the applicant. However, NIH is giving applicants the option of withdrawing and submitting a refreshed application. If you choose to replace your application, follow the steps below carefully:

Withdraw the existing application by November 8.
Submit the application to the original funding opportunity announcement (FOA), if possible. If that FOA has closed, submit to the appropriate parent announcement. If there is no parent announcement for that activity code, send an e-mail to with the previous FOA number and we will work with you to get the application submitted.
Submit a cover letter with the refreshed application. Indicate that you are refreshing your application for the new council round, include the previous application number, and provide the previous study section assignment.
Make the application a “new” or “resubmission” to match the withdrawn application.
All replacement applications are due by November 20. No late applications will be allowed for this special due date.
Only applicants who are rescheduled for May 2014 Council round may submit at the November 20th deadline. Any other applications to this deadline will be returned without review.

So if you have new preliminary data and can put something together by November 20th……

69 Responses to “NIH issues new grant submission dates, reschedules meetings, offers "refresh" opportunity”

  1. bpg Says:

    this blog is where to get the straight dope! I still have received no official word on my R01 that was supposed to be reviewed next week. Yet after reading posts this morning I was already getting my lab cranking on finishing a project for a refreshed application. I wonder how long it will take for my sro to tell me what is going on??


  2. Dr Becca Says:

    Refreshing my grant application is exactly what I’d hoped to be doing in the few weeks before SfN and Thanksgiving. I don’t have much, but I think I have no choice but to do it, as I’ll otherwise be competing against others from my original pool who do.


  3. Armyofdan Says:

    Since reviewers may have already completed reviews, I wonder whether the review process for refreshed grants will be more on degree of progress. I can’t help but think that grants that are being “reviewed” twice will get a different review than grants that are new at the November submission.


  4. Crazy Noggin Says:

    So let me get this straight: if I had an R01 grant application submitted in July, which was originally scheduled to be reviewed this month, it will now be reviewed in February or March. Will it be in the same pool as those grant applications submitted next month? I.e. does this mean I have to beat out 2 pools of applications? If so, that sucks. . .


  5. Physician Scientist Says:

    Let’s show our displeasure by civil disobedience….Those of us scheduled to review in November (during the “refresh” period) should consider dropping out of study section to show that this sort of unilateral decision without scientist input will not be tolerated.


  6. juniorprof Says:

    You realize this means that for all of us who put in a first version of a competitive R01 renewal for this cycle that just got pushed back we are now looking at a gap in funding unless we hit jackpot on the first try. Great news, so much for planning ahead.


  7. DrugMonkey Says:

    CN- I’m sure there will be some happy talk about how IC’s will apportion the awards accordingly but….yeah, basically these pushed back ones and the ones submitted in Nov are all screwed.


  8. mikka Says:

    Fuck everything about this


  9. Dave Says:

    I’m totally fucked. Seriously. I might as well submit my appeal with my “refreshed” application.


  10. Diego Maradona Says:

    Isn’t February when the CR and debt ceiling expire? And what’s going to happen to the “refreshed” review meetings if there is yet another shutdown in February? I think another shutdown then is likely to happen.

    The leadership of the NIH is awful. Those guys don’t plan for anything.


  11. Dave Says:

    In fairness the blame should be pointed toward congress.


  12. Physician Scientist Says:

    Yes the blame should be pointed at Congress, but the NIH administration is being incredibly shortsighted here and deserves a fair amount of blame. They are making a bad situation worse.


  13. Pinko Punko Says:

    Phys Sci- what is the alternate possibility? They could have done internet assisted review I guess for the 100s of study sections missed, but this shutdown time was probably over two of the possible 6 weeks a year that are the WORST possible times to shut down the government. I simply cannot place any blame on NIH/CSR for this. This is squarely on Congress. They have wasted a massive amount of money and the time lost for labs stuck in holding patterns is massive and unbelievable. I know from your other comments that you are in a bad situation with this- and I am really sorry for that. This is a nightmare.


  14. Physician Scientist Says:

    For the first week of October meetings, read phase had already began. This means all the reviewers already did their work. I’ve done about 5 videoconference study sections – they are easy to set up and at least in my circle, everyone is willing to rearrange schedules if there’s no travel involved. The later study sections are trickier, I grant you as the read phases hadn’t began yet, but I bet they could have been pushed to November.

    With the current policy adopted by the NIH, the overburdened system becomes more overburdened and what happens when the govt shuts down again in mid-January?

    I agree with you. Congress is to blame, but NIH administration is making it worse.


  15. Pinko Punko Says:

    So how do you work council with some small fraction of grants from that round? I guess the number of sections that had met must have been small. Maybe they just said we need to screw everybody equally- or maybe the fraction that would have been in that category (read phase) was small. It is a mess. This is very bad.


  16. Physician Scientist Says:

    There won’t even be a budget by January council, so it’ll be irrelevant. I have no issue pushing council back – at least the June/July people would have their scores and could plan accordingly. There would be incentive for the schools to bridge if they knew there was likely funding.

    Its the pushing back of an entire round of reviews that I think is not smart. I think if you put in extra effort now to get them done, then there isn’t a snowball effect where you create 10X the amount of work you’d have to do otherwise. My two cents…


  17. old grantee Says:

    I am confident that from Mon on, NIH would come up with a solution to make Congress’s operated damage efficiently repaired. After all the effort made from 2007 in expediting the review system with many operational advances It is unthinkable that those advances cannot be utilised in an emergency situation like this one. This is being a disaster and the resources against it are or should be available. I am confident.


  18. old grantee Says:

    And as far as the money problem and the lack of a decent budget, the only resort for the scientific community is to blast Congress with calls and emails so that the massive waste of money and resources they have provoked, i.e.., 24 billions of dollars, be restored. And the scientific community should get a good chunk of it as soon as possible. No more jokes and/or political stupidity.


  19. Susan Says:

    My very first R01 didn’t go in 10/5, and now its comparison pool is getting bigger and stronger with “refreshed” July applications . Yikes. DM, would you advise waiting to submit until February? I’m ESI until next summer. Or just go to war with what I’ve got … ?


  20. Dave Says:

    There is also a separate issue with Ks in terms of time since PhD, career stage etc. There is a very small sweet spot at some ICs and in some mechs (K99, some K01s). This adds another level of complexity and I’m not at all confident that reviewers will blank this out in review. How will the NIH handle it? Itwill likely be on an case by case basis and that is not ideal. Once again I fear us young researchers will feel the pain here.


  21. Dr Strangely Strange Says:

    Pushing back study section meetings to February will lead to a collosal disaster. It will totally screw the ones with grants submitted back in June and set up a vicious domino effect.

    Can you imagine submitting in June when many study section members rotate off and others come in, but you get over it once you find out who is in and since all others applicants were in the same boat, then you wait your review with the pipette in your hand while our elected lot decide to waste the equivalent of our entire annual NIH research budget over absolutely nothing more than political posturing. …..

    Finally they decide to disagree and they tell you your app will now be reviewed in Feb, in the same pool with applicants that know who is in the section, and which have five extra months to work on it….not to mention the psychology of a weathered study section with now double the work having three more months to come up with reasons why your grant sucks.

    PS, not to mention the very real possibility of a shutdown in Feb and perhaps then they will move three pools into one and delay council decisions till FY2015 and by then we should all think of alternate careers


  22. meshugena313 Says:

    I think we should all be looking at alternative careers, b/c the shit has really hit the fan this time.

    But, to keep some sliver of hope alive: an argument could be made that the February submission could be a good window as there might be fewer A1s going in from what should have been October reviews. Thoughts? Unless CSR extends the ESI-privileged late A1 submission date to everyone else…


  23. Dr Strangely Strange Says:

    Susan, I realize you asked DM but if I may intercede, based on my study section experience, I would put in regardless, it is really tough to get one on the first try and the feedback is much more important than any potential hot idea or experiment you could generate till then. Without getting your feet wet, you will not know if section is a good fit, or if the plan appears solid and the outcome important and inevitable

    PS why would ESI matter so much? You would still be new investigator, regardless, I am assuming, since you said this is your first app for an R01


  24. Mikka Says:

    ESI matters, or so the PO tells me. While we are on the subject, what the hell does this mean?

    “NIH will automatically adjust the Early Stage Investigator (ESI) status for applicants whose status has changed during the period of delay caused by the shutdown.”

    Does it mean that if the original submission was ESI so will be the refreshed one? Or that we don’t have to worry about pointing out that we ran out of ESI eligibility? Will an A1 ESI that was already on the 13 month grace period after A0, remain ESI on the refreshed application?

    One more NIH shutdown in february and they might as well close the OER for good. But hey, as long as the planes are departing on time, who gives a fuck.


  25. Dave Says:

    If the original submission was ESI, I’m sure it will remain so.

    I don’t think the NIH has thought this through.


  26. DrugMonkey Says:

    Susan- fronton war with what you have. Put it in and write another one for next round.


  27. DrugMonkey Says:

    Ducking autocorrect


  28. GenXPI Says:

    This is insane. As a newish PI, this situation is insane. I don’t think I can survive much longer.

    Why is it that the renewing an R01 has a much higher success rate than getting a new one? That difference gives a huge advantage to established labs.

    The Boomers are the worst. They got their jobs easy and then engineer a system to benefit them at everyone else’s expense.

    I wonder what the median age for NIH grantees is. If age of first R01 is 43, I bet median age for NIH grantees is around 60. We are funding dinosaurs.

    We, the younger PIs, need to start making some serious noise to the NIH.


  29. old grantee Says:

    As somebody who have had the privilege of being funded for over 30 yrs and now out of business, both by necessity and choice, let’s fight the good fight and pass the torch to the young. It is high time for them to take over and maintain excellence and leadership in science. It is only in the best interest of everyone in the US.


  30. cest moi Says:

    I totally agree old grantee


  31. gerty-z Says:



  32. Pear Says:

    Couldn’t agree more about making some noise to the NIH. Young and hopefully old alike. Let’s get this started.


  33. miko Says:

    I can’t imagine better noise than the Tilghman Report, commissioned and then utterly dismissed by the NIH.

    This is not a system that’s going to change from the inside.


  34. Juniper Says:

    I wonder what the median age for NIH grantees is. If age of first R01 is 43, I bet median age for NIH grantees is around 60. We are funding dinosaurs.

    I realize this is a little off-topic, but why don’t PIs push for a higher number of Early Independence Awards? Getting a professorship is so competitive at this point that most of you who made it to that stage were probably capable of running a laboratory right out of grad school.


  35. meshugena313 Says:

    Juniper – b/c then institutions will expect this money (as appears to have happened with K99/R00) and will have to have even less skin in the game when hiring. For long term stability, its pretty clear that the universities will have to invest more, likely in fewer people. The current game only works when the money keeps increasing at a steady rate.

    And storming the gates at the NIH won’t do a thing. While the whole situation sucks schwety balls, there’s really not much that CSR can do – rescheduling 100s of meetings, even over the internet, wouldn’t work perfectly and then they would be faced with lots of appeals, etc.


  36. Dave Says:

    Sadly Miko is absolutely correct.


  37. GenXPI Says:

    @Dave, Miko

    The NIH is not going to change from within. It is run by the establishment. Just take a look at ACD:

    This is the “fine” group and men and women that allegedly was going to look into the issues of the biomedical workforce. Most, if not all, of the members benefit from the current system. And unsurprisingly, their recommendations are nothing but window dressing, like the rest of NIH efforts in this area. So complaining to the NIH is not going to work.

    Maybe we could start complaining to Congress directly. Maybe we can create a lobbying group–an organization that would represent the young and upcoming PIs. Someone needs to know or countless other lives and careers will be ruined.

    I don’t know about you, but if I go down, I’m not going to go down quietly. I am going to make a lot of noise before and after. I am fighting for survival here. What do I care about what old PIs would say?


  38. anonymous postdoc Says:

    So what I am hearing is “Remain in your safe, sane, and half-funded postdoc forever. Scientific independence is for the suicidal.” Got it. At least that is a feasible option for the next several years.


  39. gingerest Says:

    Oh, but anonymous postdoc, what comes after that?

    No, really, that’s an actual question. Please, tell me.


  40. qaz Says:

    Can everybody just calm down? The idea that it is going to be harder to get your grant funded in the next round because they are going to be mixing two rounds together is silly. Assuming that they are going to fund based on percentages (*), then they will fund twice as many grants. Saying that you’ve got more competition is like saying that you should go to smaller study sections. If anything, I think having twice as many grants to review will be good. In my study section, we rank things. This gives us twice as many grants to fill out the ranking, which will provide a more accurate (less quantized) ranking. That’s a GOOD thing.

    The idea that an extra three months to get more preliminary data into your grant is going to make enough difference misunderstands the amount of noise in the system and how people judge grants. If you had enough data and ideas to put in October, then you should leave it and start working on the next grant. Two very good proposals are better than one super-excellent-worked-forever-on-it proposal? [No, this doesn’t mean you should shotgun, but spending all your time on writing the perfect grant misunderstands the scoring system.]

    This is an interesting experiment. Let’s see what proportion of the grants that are funded in the February round were removed and resubmitted.

    Yes, I agree, if you were looking at a renewal or a funding gap, then you’re pretty well screwed, but I would recommend talking to your PO about it. That’s what bridge grants (R56) are for. (**) If you needed this grant for a job or tenure, then, yeah, you’re probably fucked. But the universities shouldn’t be using NIH as a criteria for jobs or tenure anyway.

    * Not a guaranteed assumption. If they don’t fund based on percentages, then we’re all screwed. But generally they do, so let’s go with that assumption.

    ** I have no information that they will be funding more R56 grants to carry people through to the next round, but maybe they should. In any case, I wouldn’t panic until you had talked to your PO.


  41. qaz Says:

    Sorry. That should have been ” Two very good proposals are better than one super-excellent-worked-forever-on-it proposal.” (Was a statement of fact, not a question.)


  42. meshugena313 Says:

    Qaz- more complicated than that for some of us, especially ESIs with limited startup funding left and the dean’s axe hanging over our heads… any delays are not good. But I agree that the odds haven’t changed (unless the sciquester 2 goes through).


  43. Dave Says:

    @Qaz – your comments smack of someone who is woefully out of touch. Let me give you an example:

    Can everybody just calm down?

    Sure, OK.

    This is an interesting experiment

    To who? To the old fucks who this doesn’t affect? It is certainly not “interesting” to me and most of us who are directly affected by this. This is no time for ad hoc experiments by the NIH for crying out loud.

    Yes, I agree, if you were looking at a renewal or a funding gap, then you’re pretty well screwed…

    Oh, still calm.

    If you needed this grant for a job or tenure, then, yeah, you’re probably fucked

    Wait, should I still “calm down”?

    But the universities shouldn’t be using NIH as a criteria for jobs or tenure anyway.

    And there it is people. Don’t worry, calm down, just go to your admin and tell them you think it is inappropriate to base hiring and firing decisions on NIH grants anyway. Then collect your P45 on the way out, but only after the laughter has stopped.


  44. Joe Says:

    @qaz “But the universities shouldn’t be using NIH as a criteria for jobs or tenure anyway.”

    I think this is only true if you think that research funding is going to change for the better, i.e., you think it is unfair to let someone go because they failed to get an R01 in their first 6 years of independent research when in any other climate they would have gotten funded and in the next few years they will get funded. It seems likely that funding is only going to get worse for the next few years, so uni’s are not going to have the money to carry unfunded professors. They don’t really have a choice.


  45. meshugena313 Says:

    Just got an email back from an SRO stating that “everything is in flux at the moment” and that “NIH is re-evaluating that decision”. So everyone should hold off on withdrawals for the moment… Insane.


  46. Mikka Says:

    I’ve been obsessively checking the eRA commons to see if I got the dreaded “9/9/9999” meeting date, but so far it’s still 10/21/2013 (today). But this morning I saw someone that should be in precisely that study section, which makes me think that the meeting got cancelled and they didn’t bother telling us yet.

    This weekend I talked it over with my family. My wife told me that she would rather have me find another line of work, even if it means a drop in our income, if it meant that I would no longer be the anxious mess that I’ve been. This funding environment really sucks the fun out of science. I don’t see it ever getting better, more so for young PIs, and more so for people that work on model organisms like me.

    I’m thinking of realigning my priorities, to de-emphasize grant writing to focus in churning out papers, for a potential escape to europe when the tenure axe falls. Would they care that I never got an R01 if I have good papers? The funding scheme over there is totally different.


  47. Dave Says:

    NIH is re-evaluating that decision

    Fuck the NIH. Muppets.


  48. Mikka Says:

    I called the hotel where the meeting was going to take place and asked to talk to the chair of the study section. They told me his reservation had been cancelled, so I guess that’s it.

    On the upside now I feel like a cunning Private Investigator, rather than a despondent Principal Investigator.


  49. Please remember that final scores are normalized over 3 rounds of reviews in any case. Thus, have more grants in one particular review (and none in the Oct/nov submission cycle) will not make a difference on THAT basis. Whether there is reviewer fatigue is another matter.


  50. The Other Dave Says:

    Wow. This is an entertaining comment thread.

    Qaz is (as usual) a wise person.

    Dave: You will never survive in science. Get out now.

    Mikka: You should ALWAYS focus on churning out good papers. Do not let all the focus on money take your eye off the ball. Grants are a means to an end. They are not the end.

    GenXPI: I agree with your pessimism, and the reason for it, but I don’t think congress will help. A colleague once told me that a congressman told him, point blank: Congress doesn’t care about scientists. We are a small constituency, and a weak lobby.


  51. Mikka Says:

    TOD: Thanks, I appreciate your answer. I know that I should be writing papers and managing the lab and working at the bench and teaching and writing 3xR01 per year with a cup and a cake on the top of my hat. But the fact of the matter is that something’s got to give. I can’t write a grant in between centrifugations, papers don’t get instantly downloaded into my brain from PubMed, and for fucks sake I don’t know how everybody else does it but it takes me a LONG time to stare at the data, to think about what it means and what it points at.

    This has more to do with the long-term outlook of funding than with the current CSR clusterfuck discussed here, but what’s on my brain now is No R01->no tenure, so I might as well start planning for my next step. I’m just saying that if I have zero chance to secure an R01 it makes sense for me to prioritize benchwork and papers over the grantsmithing Stakhanovism that is often advocated here.


  52. Dave Says:

    Grants are a means to an end. They are not the end.

    In terms of science, this may be true; in terms of a career/job, this is certainly not the case anymore. You must occupy the same utopian world that Qaz does.


  53. namnezia Says:

    Mikka, you’re cracking me up with your sleuthing. My suspicion is that they will hold, just reschedule all the review meetings.

    Also, I thought you were in Canada?


  54. Joe Says:

    @ namnezia “My suspicion is that they will hold, just reschedule all the review meetings.” I was supposed to be on a panel next month. When they first got back from the shutdown, they told us it was still on for Nov. Then, last Friday, they said it would occur in Feb or March and would take one day longer.


  55. Mikka Says:

    “Also, I thought you were in Canada?”

    I wish! I’m in one of those too big to fail state Us that grew fat and addicted to indirects during the doubling. Everyone knows what we are doing here to earn our keep, and it’s not teaching, nosiree.


  56. namnezia Says:

    Joe, Right, but then I also got that cryptic email saying they were reconsidering their postponement decision. So, I don’t know. I do hope they meet this round.


  57. old grantee Says:

    If NIH is reconsidering it, please let NIH go ahead and do it!. Please!.


  58. Dave Says:

    I’m confused.


  59. Pear Says:

    Has anyone heard any more news regarding the postponement? My SRO said this morning that they were still undecided. Perhaps they are hearing the noise. Keep writing the NIH.


  60. drugmonkey Says:

    Just thought of another minor annoyance for SROs. They pull their ad hocs quite frequently from the pool of investigators that are submitting grants to that section. Obviously the ad hocs have to not have put one in for that particular round. So if two rounds are combined that further constrains their reviewer pool .

    Pity your SRO people, this can’t be much fun for them.


  61. AK Says:

    Just got word that the late October study section that my grant was in will be scheduled for December. The way I read it, you still have the “refresh” option but the email was not very clear.


  62. AK Says:

    Just to be clear, one reading of the email I received suggests that you have the refresh option but that would put your grant in the May 2014 council round and not the January 2014 round.


  63. Pinko Punko Says:

    Was just going to report what AK reported above. Refresh sounds like solely for pulling grant and submitting for Feb. study section, whereas if you leave in, it will get reviewed in December.


  64. Cassius King Says:

    Interesting. I wonder if it is possible to leave the proposal in play AND submit a refreshed proposal? My original plan was to see review result in Oct and resubmit in November. Now that is not possible if the November resubmission dates hold but reviews don’t happen until December.


  65. Chris Says:

    IMPORTANT UPDATE: My study section (originally scheduled for Oct 1-2, then cancelled until Feb) is now back on! I just heard from our chair that we will be holding an online meeting in the next few days (thanks for the advance notice). According to our chair, the “significant pressure” put on the NIH from the extramural community has led them to reconsider their decision to cancel everything and bring things back online. I have no authority on this, but would assume that this will happen across the board. So take heart, all may not be lost for this round…


  66. AcademicLurker Says:

    This is somewhat off topic, but these “Pay me to coach you on how to write your grant” spam emails are getting out of control. I seem to be getting an average of 6-7 a day now. Where did all these hucksters come from?


  67. drugmonkey Says:

    Thanks for the update Chris, I am likewise hearing rumor that CSR may try to walk this one back.

    Stay tuned folks.


  68. Lincoln Says:

    I hope this update is correct and applies across the board. The original plan was abysmal.


  69. Zookeeper Says:

    Do you want your application reviewed at a 2-day teleconference meeting where it’s impossible to monitor who’s in their office listening and who has the phone on mute and walked away? Why is this option considered better than a later in-person review? All the options are less than ideal.


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