NIH Policy on Resubmission Applications

Updated: April 17, 2014

Policy 

Per NOT-OD-14-074, for application due dates after April 16, 2014:

  • following an unsuccessful resubmission (A1) application, applicants may submit the same idea as a new (A0) application for the next appropriate due date.

NIH will not assess the similarity of the science in the new (A0) application to any previously reviewed submission when accepting an application for review.

This policy applies to all NIH Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) that allow resubmissions, including FOAs for research grants, the NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, Career Development Awards, Individual Fellowships, Institutional Training Grants, Resource Grants, Program Projects, and Center Grants.

NIH’s policy for accepting overlapping applications remains in effect (see NOT-OD-09-100). The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time. This means that the NIH will not review:

  • a new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • a resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • an application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).

NIH will not accept a resubmission (A1) application that is submitted later than 37 months after submission of the new (A0) application that it follows (see NOT-OD-12-128 and NOT-OD-10-140).

Applicants should check the individual FOA to determine whether resubmission applications are allowed. Resubmissions normally are not permitted for applications received in response to a Request for Applications (RFA) unless it is specified in the FOA, in which case only one resubmission will be permitted. Since an RFA often has special considerations of eligibility, scientific scope, and review criteria, unfunded applications to an RFA must be submitted as new applications to another FOA, using that FOA’s target due date for new applications. 

Similarly, a change of grant activity code (e.g., from an R01 to an R21 or from an R03 to an R01) usually involves a change of eligibility criteria, application characteristics, dollar limits, time limits, or review criteria. These applications also MUST be prepared as new applications. More information on these policies can be found in the NOT-OD-08-019.

History

NIH policies on resubmission applications have evolved over the past two decades.

In 1996, NIH adopted policies limiting the number of application amendments to two, and restricting the time to submit the amended applications to two years beyond the date of the receipt of the initial new application (as described in NIH Guide Notices NOT-96-161 and NOT-97-011.)

In 2003, the NIH eliminated the two-year restriction on the receipt of those applications (as described in NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-03-041).

A 2009 policy change, resulting from NIH’s Enhancing Peer Review initiative, reduced the number of allowable resubmission applications from two to one, and stipulated that any subsequent submission of that project must demonstrate significant changes in scientific direction compared to the previous submissions. (These changes are described in NIH Guide Notices NOT-OD-09-003, NOT -OD-09-016 and NOT-OD-10-080.)

These changes were implemented to address the growing trend for resubmission applications to be scored more favorably, which in essence created a queue for meritorious applications before success in funding. The policy was revised to facilitate funding of high quality applications earlier, with fewer resubmissions.

In 2010, NIH reinstated a new time limit for resubmission applications of 37 months from submission of the new application (as described in NIH Guide Notices NOT-OD-10-140 and NOT-OD-12-128).

In 2014, NIH released the current policy NOT-OD-14-074 acknowledging that in this extended period of tight funding, the existing approach -- requiring an application to be scientifically distinct from an application NIH has already reviewed -- resulted in meritorious research ideas being deemed ineligible for additional submissions. Many investigators expressed concerns that the existing approach required productive labs to redirect their focus in order to submit future NIH applications, and would be particularly difficult for New Investigators as new research directions may not be feasible early in their career.

Inquiries

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss questions about resubmission with the NIH Institute/Center scientific contact associated with their grant application. This information can be found in your eRA Commons account.

General questions concerning this policy may be directed to the Division of Receipt and Referral at the Center for Scientific Review, 301-435-0715.