NIH GUIDE, Volume 23, Number 6, February 11, 1994



National Institutes of Health

The information indicated below will guide the Institutes and Centers

in their funding decisions on Research Project Grants (RPGs) in FY

94.  Although these principles remain essentially the same as those

for FY 1993, there are some changes.  The changes include the fact

that this year there is a distinction between principles and funding

strategies.  Section I, core principles, includes three statements

that will be applicable for more than FY 94.  On the other hand,

funding strategies, which are detailed in Section II, may be changed

from year to year depending on the appropriation level and associated

Congressional directives.

I.  Core Principles

1.  Grants will be awarded on the basis of reasonable and allowable

costs, consonant with the principles of sound cost management and in

consideration of Institute or Center (I/C) priorities, constraints on

the growth of average grant costs, and the availability of funds.

2.  The award of noncompeting research project grants at committed

levels continues to be the cornerstone of the NIH Financial

Management Plan and is the basis of the plan's credibility with the

scientific community and Congress.

3.  Determination of commitments for future years must take into

consideration stability of support for investigators, optimum

portfolio balance, and opportunities to address emerging problems.

II.  Fiscal Year 1994 Funding Strategies

1.  For FY 1994 competing grants, the average increment for the

subsequent noncompeting award may not exceed the direct cost level of

the previous budget period by more than four percent.  NIH staff may

make exceptions for specifically justified programmatic requirements

and one-time, non-recurring costs such as equipment.

2.  Every effort will be made to accommodate shifts in the NIH fiscal

situation.  If conditions are such that funding at the committed

levels is not possible, the I/Cs will consult with the Deputy

Director for Extramural Research, NIH, to determine an appropriate


3.  The average total cost of competing grants in the FY 1994 cohort

will not increase by more than the Biomedical Research and

Development Price Index (BRDPI) (4.19 percent) over the cohort of

competing grants in FY 1993 (including special initiative small

business grants - Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)/Small

Business Technology Transfer (STTR)).  Given specific appropriation

levels, some I/Cs may not be able to provide an increase consonant

with the BRDPI.

4.  When necessary, budgetary reductions from the requested level

will be achieved through implementing a combination of initial review

and Council/Board recommendations, staff review for cost

allocability, allowability, and reasonableness, and programmatic

adjustments to arrive at an appropriate funding level.

5.  Based on adjustments to the project, I/C staff, in consultation

with the principal investigator, will decide whether or not a new

statement of specific aims is required.  When reductions are 25

percent or more below the IRG recommended level, staff will obtain a

revised statement of specific aims, a revised budget, and/or a

revised timetable, as appropriate, for the project, which must be

approved and countersigned by the institution and approved by program

and grants management staff.  To ensure initial review group

understanding of the modified scope of a funded project, the approved

statement of revised aims should be submitted by the investigator in

competing continuation grant applications.

6.  For competing continuation grants, one factor in arriving at the

award amount will be the level of support in prior years and the

extent to which the I/C can permit growth within the existing

constraints on average costs.

7.  The average length of research project grants will not exceed

four years (excluding special initiative small business grants -


8.  In making funding decisions, I/Cs should factor in the total

costs of a grant, especially at the margin of the funding plan.


For further information, contact the Grants Management Specialist or

Health Scientist Administrator responsible for the grant.  The names

and telephone numbers are indicated on the Notice of Grant Award.


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