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April 11, 2012, NIAID Funding Newsletter
Opportunities and Resources
- Have You Used Our Resources? You Should
- More Funding Opportunities From the Gates Foundation
- You'll "LikeThis": A New Search Tool
In The News
- Times Are Changing—and so Is Just-in-Time
- Dr. Fauci Goes to Washington for Budget Hearings
- News Briefs
- Give Your Unfunded Application Another Chance
- Start Spreading the News About Your Research Advances
- Reader Questions
New Funding Opportunities
Sample R01 and R21 Applications and Summary Statements.
We thank the following investigators who have graciously agreed to let us post their applications online.
- Steven W. Dow, D.V.M., Ph.D., Mechanisms of enteric Burkholderia pseudomallei infection.
- Peter Myler, Ph.D., and Marilyn Parsons, Ph.D., Ribosome Profiling of Trypanosoma brucei.
- Michael Starnbach, Ph.D., Alteration of host protein stability by Legionella.
- John Weis, Ph.D., Role of Ifitm/Fragilis proteins as intracellular shuttles during cell activation.
Should You Go There?
If you’ve been thinking about submitting an R21, you’ll want to know its pros and cons.
R21s can serve different purposes for different types of research and career stages. But they’re not for everyone, and knowing the caveats will help you decide whether an R21 is a good option for you.
Let’s start with how they’re used.
NIH designed the R21 to encourage exploratory and even high-risk research, defining the purpose:
...to introduce novel scientific ideas, model systems, tools, agents, targets, and technologies that have the potential to substantially advance biomedical research.But people also submit more mainstream applications for projects that are smaller than would be appropriate for an R01, as did the PIs who wrote our four sample applications.
Additionally, some new investigators apply for R21s in the hopes of getting funds to generate preliminary data for a future R01 (we discuss new investigators further in the next section).
While those concepts may appeal to you, consider the drawbacks.
If you're looking to gather preliminary data, you could end up coming short for time.
People often find that the two-year maximum is not long enough to complete a project that yields enough data for publication or additional preliminary data for an R01 application. To avoid a funding gap, you'll need to plan how to continue supporting your research if your R21 funds run out before a future R01 can begin.
Applying successfully for your follow on R01 can take longer than you may think.
Estimate from 5 to 20 months from application to award depending on several factors, including the weightiest: whether you will need to resubmit. If you end up on the long end of that continuum, your R21, which you can’t renew, may end well before we could fund your R01.
Cautions for New Investigators
If you’re a new or early-stage investigator, you’ll need to pay particular attention to timing issues.
While you work on your R21, time will march on, moving you closer to the end of the 10-year period where you qualify as an early-stage investigator.
Further, your R21 won't benefit from our higher R01 payline that benefits new (including early-stage) investigators. Your R21 application will also not be eligible for our R56-Bridge award or selective pay programs.
You should also be aware that, even though NIH does not require preliminary data for R21s, most applications include it, and reviewers tend to expect it.
NIH did not intend the R21 to be a means for new investigators to obtain their first NIH grant, and there is no evidence that R21s provide a path to an independent research career.
When R21s Are Most Useful
R21s work best for investigators who want to complete a project with limited scope, for example, a pilot or feasibility study.
They are most helpful as one element in an investigator’s funding portfolio rather than a solo grant. But if you do find yourself in that position, start applying for additional funding from whatever sources you can find, and do it as early as possible.
Read more in Drawbacks for Smaller Awards in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
Check out Resources for Researchers for NIAID resources you may need from A to Z, like the clinical research toolkit, bioethics information, and much more.
Also, visit the Resources for Researchers Blog to read and comment on the latest research and resources news.
For more information, read our November 23, 2011, article “New Resources Web Site in the Works: Comments, Please.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Grant Challenges Explorations. For details and instructions, go to Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9 Now Open. Get an overview of the program at Rewarding Innovative Ideas.
- New Biomarkers for HIV Incidence Assays. For summary and links to more information, read Request for LOI: New Biomarkers for HIV Incidence Measurement.
Thanks to LikeThis, a new search tool linked to the eRA Commons, you can get a list of funded projects and publications that are similar to yours.
LikeThis retrieves information that can help you do the following:
- Find ideas for projects based on what NIH has awarded in the past.
- Determine whether you need a fresh research idea.
- Figure out in which study section your application should be reviewed.
To learn more, check out the Overview, User Guide, and Frequently Asked Questions.
- All application types with overall impact scores of 40 or less will get NIH's automatic email request for just-in-time information 15 days after the score appears in the Commons.
- Send just-in-time information as PDFs through the eRA Commons only. Most of your business officials take this approach already, but now it's required.
- Everyone will see the Commons option to send just-in-time information within 24 hours after the score appears.
In fact, even though NIH's automatic email instructs your business office to start uploading information to the Commons, you shouldn't necessarily swing into action yet. Our advice depends on the situation:
- If there are no published paylines yet or your application scores well outside of the payline, wait.
- Don't upload anything unless NIAID's grants management contacts you.
- If we do ask later, it's because we want the latest information.
- If your application scores within or near the payline, proceed.
- We encourage your business office to upload the information in NIH's Request for Just-in-Time Information right away.
- You don't need to wait for notification from NIH or NIAID.
- NIAID's grants management will contact you later if we need additional information.
But also keep in mind that your institution may want you to hold off—for example, if you're waiting for IRB or IACUC approval.
NIH announced this policy change in a March 30, 2012, Guide notice. Get details on the process in the Just-in-Time SOP as well as Prepare Your Just-In-Time Information in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
On March 28 he accompanied NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins to a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education, which asked about topics such as the Institute's research programs and progress in tuberculosis and food allergy research.
The panel voiced strong bipartisan support for the NIH and expressed concern about the potential effects on NIH research from a budget sequestration in FY 2013.
For additional information, read Dr. Anthony S. Fauci's Testimony and Dr. Francis S. Collins' Testimony.
Earlier, on March 20, Dr. Fauci attended a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education on NIH’s implementation of the newly established National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). Learn more about the Center at NCATS.
O.D.s Now Eligible for Loan Repayment Programs. The "eyes" have it. NIH added Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) to the list of eligible degrees for NIH Loan Repayment Programs. Read the March 19, 2012, Guide notice for the official word. Find more LRP information at NIAID's Loan Repayment Programs, and learn about the benefits of LRPs in our July 6, 2011, article "Pay Attention to Loan Repayment Programs."
Health Research Funding Web site.
Once there and registered, you can post the abstract to your application, if it was unfunded after receiving peer review either by NIH or an organization listed on the National Health Council's Membership Directory under the following headings:
- Patient Advocacy Organizations
- Professional and Membership Associations
- Nonprofit Organizations With an Interest in Health
To learn more, go to Frequently Asked Questions, and read the User Agreement for eligibility requirements and other important details.
Office of Communications and Government Relations (OCGR) can help get the word out.
First, tell your program officer and your institution’s press office that you’re publishing. Give as much lead time as possible—at least two weeks before your paper is published—so your press people and OCGR can consider and prepare for the appropriate publicity.
OCGR staff will assess your findings and determine how newsworthy they are. Read more in our Requesting NIAID's Help on Publicizing Research Advances SOP.
If your institution decides to issue a news release about your work, we’ll help spread the word by posting a link to it on our News from NIAID-Supported Institutions page.
Bookmark the page or subscribe to once-a-week email updates so you can follow news releases issued by NIAID-supported institutions and businesses. To learn more, go to NIAID Email Updates.
Feel free to send us a question at email@example.com. After responding to you, we may include your question in the newsletter, incorporate it into the NIAID Research Funding site, or both.
"Where can I get a PDF version of the Strategy for NIH Funding?"—anonymous reader
Unfortunately, we don't have a PDF version of the Strategy for NIH Funding. Because it is a living document with many sections that we update constantly, it's not conducive to posting a PDF version.
However, you can make a PDF on your own, with the caveat that the information is only correct at the time you create the PDF. Here are some options (this is not an exhaustive list):
- When you print a document, select the option to "create a PDF" as the destination instead of a printer. Some programs do not have this feature, while others may call it something else.
- Copy the relevant text into a word processing program and save as PDF from there. This approach has an added advantage of eliminating our site's side navigation, so you get just the substance.
- Use a free converter to save a URL as a PDF for you. For example, http://pdfmyurl.com/ .
We do not have a sample for an R03 application. However, one of our Sample R01 Applications and Summary Statements has an introduction that addresses feedback from the initial review. Read the sample Research Plan from Dr. Adam Ratner's application.
- PAR-12-156, NIAID Career Transition Award
- RFA-AI-12-018, Clinical Trials Units for NIAID Networks
- PA-12-150, Research Supplements to Promote Re-Entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers
- PA-12-149, Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research
- RFA-AI-12-021, U.S.-China Program for Biomedical Collaborative Research
- RFA-CA-12-503, A Data Resource for Analyzing Blood and Marrow Transplants (limited competition)