RELEASE DATE:  October 31, 2003

NOTICE:  NOT-AR-03-004

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin 
Diseases (NIAMS) is updating its policy on the acceptance of 
unsolicited applications requesting direct costs of $500,000 or more 
for any one year.  

o Effective November 2, 2003, the NIAMS will consider accepting such 
applications only for the June 1/July 1 (Cycle II) and October 
1/November 1 (Cycle III) receipt dates.  A potential applicant must 
seek NIAMS acceptance of such an application no later than March 1, for 
a June 1/July 1 submission, and no later than July 1, for an October 
1/November 1 submission.

o This policy applies to new applications, revisions of applications 
previously accepted for review but not funded, and applications for 
competing continuation of funded projects.  It also applies to 
supplemental applications that would increase the direct cost to over 
$500,000 per year.

o Revised or competing continuation applications that have previously 
been reviewed by NIAMS Special Emphasis Panels must be received by the 
earlier date for each cycle, i.e., June 1 or October 1.

o This policy does not apply to applications submitted in response to 
Requests for Applications (RFAs) or Program Announcements that include 
specific receipt dates and/or acceptance procedures.

o Acceptance will not be carried over from one round to another.  That 
is, if an applicant is delayed and cannot meet the planned receipt 
date, a new request will be required for the next receipt date.


Current NIH-wide policy requires only that applicants seek agreement 
from Institute/Center staff at least 6 weeks prior to the anticipated 
submission of any application requesting $500,000 or more in direct 
costs for any year (see Notice NOT-OD-02-004, NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts, October 16, 2001, at 
The same Guide announcement made clear that the policy applies to "... 
a group of applications, such as those for clinical trial networks, 
meeting the threshold in the aggregate even if no single application in 
the group requests that much." With this notice, the NIAMS imposes 
further restrictions on the acceptance of such applications.  This 
action is intended to improve the NIAMS budget and program planning 
process, helping to ensure that applications requesting unusually large 
commitments of resources are rigorously assessed for consonance with 
NIAMS priorities.


Acceptance of a proposed application must be requested in the format 
specified at:  
In March and July each year, the NIAMS staff will meet with the NIAMS 
Director to discuss the potential scientific impact of the proposed 
applications in the context of the total NIAMS portfolio. Normally, a 
decision on acceptance will be communicated to the requester at least 
two months before the anticipated submission date. If the NIAMS agrees 
to accept assignment of the application for review and potential 
funding, the staff will notify the Center for Scientific Review before 
the application is submitted. The Principal Investigator must include a 
cover letter with the application, identifying the NIAMS program staff 
member who on behalf of NIAMS, has agreed to accept assignment of the 
application. Additional information on the NIAMS policy regarding 
unsolicited applications for investigator-initiated Research, where 
direct costs are $500,000 or more per year, may be found at


General inquiries related to this notice may be directed to:

Cheryl A. Kitt, Ph.D.
Director, Extramural Program
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
One Democracy Plaza
6701 Democracy Blvd., Room 804
Bethesda, MD  20892-4872
Tel: 301-594-2463

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