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New NIH grant submission guidelines released

Colleen Smith

Working hard on your NIH RO1 grant application? Make sure you’re using the latest instructions and forms, or your application might not be reviewed.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released its new submission guidelines for grant proposals with due dates on or after January 25, 2010. The streamlined process allows for only 12 pages. The major differences include changes to the Research Plan and Biographical Sketch sections:

Research Plan
The Research Plan section of the application has been restructured and aligned with peer review criteria to meet the goals of the NIH Enhancing Peer Review Initiative. In the new application, the Research Plan will consist of the following parts:

Specific Aims

  • State the research goals and summarize the expected outcome(s), including the impact that the results of may have on the research field(s) involved.
  • List the specific research objectives (e.g., to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology).

Research Strategy

  • Significance (1 page): (1) Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field that the project addresses. (2) Explain how the project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in one or more broad fields. (3) Describe how the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field will be changed if the aims are achieved.
  • Innovation: (1) Explain how the application challenges and seeks to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms. (2) Describe any novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or intervention(s) to be developed or used, and any advantage over existing methodologies, instrumentation, or intervention(s). (3) Explain any refinements, improvements, or new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions.
  • Approach: (1) Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the project’s aims. Include how data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted, as well as any resource sharing plans as appropriate. (2) Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aims. (3) If the project is in the early stages of development, describe any strategy to establish feasibility, and address the management of any high-risk aspects of the work. (4) Discuss the PD/PI's preliminary studies, data, and/or experience pertinent to this application.

Biographical Sketch
The Biographical Sketch section has also been changed. In the new format, the NIH will require researchers to provide a personal statement tailored to each specific application. Researchers will also be limited to listing only 15 selected peer-reviewed publications or manuscripts. How these articles are selected is up to the researcher.

New application instructions and forms are available for both paper-based and electronic applications. Applications submitted on incorrect forms may not be reviewed.

Keywords:  research application NIH