Updates to NIH & AHRQ Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) to Address Rigor and Transparency

Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-031

Key Dates
Release Date:  December 15, 2015
Effective Date: January 25, 2016

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH))
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


This notice informs the biomedical and health services research community of planned changes to the PHS Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) instructions for all annual non-competing (Type 5) NIH & AHRQ awards that support research activities.

These updates to address Rigor and Transparency will take effect for RPPRs due on or after January 25, 2016.


NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.  Key to the successful application of that knowledge toward health outcomes is scientific rigor in conducting biomedical research. One of NIH’s four stated goals is to exemplify and promote the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science (see http://www.nih.gov/about/mission.htm).

These RPPR updates for rigor and transparency:

  • clarify long-standing expectations to ensure that NIH is funding the best and most rigorous science,
  • highlight the need for awardees to describe details that may have been previously overlooked,
  • prepare non-competing renewals for the next competitive renewal, and
  • will help NIH implement and evaluate the policy for both current and new awards.


Updates to Section B - Accomplishments

By January 25, 2016, the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) instructions will be updated to include the following additional guidance for 6.2 Section B - Accomplishments, in addition to the existing instructions.  Progress reports submitted on or after January 25, 2016 that are initiated prior to the instruction updates may use the current forms while following these additional instructions.  The instructions that will address rigor are listed below for your convenience.

B.2 What was accomplished under these goals?

Include the approaches taken to ensure robust and unbiased results.

B.6 What do you plan to do for the next reporting period to accomplish these goals?

Discuss efforts to ensure that the approach is scientifically rigorous and results are robust and unbiased.



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