Multiple PI Implementation Update

Notice Number: NOT-OD-06-069

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Key Dates
Release Date: May 11, 2006

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (

The National Institutes of Health will recognize multiple Principal Investigators (PI) on a selected set of grant programs beginning in September, 2006 ( This notice reminds the research community that the multiple PI option will be available only for programs involved in the pilot; that all participating PIs will need to be registered on the NIH Commons prior to submission; and that Multiple PI applications must include a leadership plan.  Finally, this notice describes the management strategies for Multiple PI projects that are in place for the pilot initiatives and special review criteria that will be used for these pilots.  Other policies and management strategies will be announced as they are developed.

Pilot Multiple PI Programs:  The following program announcements (PAs), Requests for Applications (RFAs) and Notices describe programs involved in the Multiple PI Pilot.  It should be noted that Multiple PI leadership is an option only for those applicants responding to the Pilot Initiatives. Although the modified PHS 398 form accommodates multiple PIs, applications with multiple PIs that are not submitted in response to the pilot initiatives may be delayed or in some cases may not be reviewed. 

With the exception of PAR-06-389 these programs will be submitted using the 4/2006 Interim revision of the PHS 398 form (see   PAR-06-389 will pilot electronic submission for R01s using the Standard Form 424 (R&R).  All such programs are announced in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts and on the Multiple PI Website at  Please note that all PIs listed on applications employing the multiple PI option must be registered in the NIH Commons in advance of submission (see   For electronically submitted applications in response to PAR-06-389, the Commons ID is a required field for all PD/PIs (see the Credential field in the Senior/Key Person Profile component).

All Multiple PI projects are required to include a new section describing the leadership of the project.
(For applications submitted in paper using the PHS398 this is now section I in the PHS398 Research Plan.  For applications submitted electronically using the SF424 (R&R) follow the instructions provided in the Application Guide.).
Section I. Multiple Principal Investigator Leadership Plan:
For applications designating multiple PIs, a new section entitled Leadership Plan is now included as Section I, of the research plan. The governance and organizational structure of the research project are described, including communication plans, process for making decisions on scientific direction, allocation of resources, publications, intellectual property issues, and procedures for resolving conflicts.  The roles and administrative, technical, and scientific responsibilities for the project or program are delineated for the PIs, including responsibilities for human subjects or animal studies as appropriate.   Note that single PI applications and applications that are not submitted in response to the announcements included in the Pilot are not to include a Leadership Plan.   Examples of leadership plans are available on the Multiple PI website at  

Management Strategies Available for Programs in the Pilot:  Three management strategies for these projects are being tested. These strategies are likely to evolve as the pilot phase of implementation informs the process.

A fourth management strategy, Multiple PIs at One Institution – Formal Allocation, is being considered by the NIH. This strategy would either involve multiple awards to one institution or the allocation of funds within the Notice of Grant award mandating the generation of sub-accounts within an Institution. This would provide individual budgets for different components of the project that might be managed by different PIs. The NIH is gathering input from the scientific community concerning the utility of this model, but it is not being piloted at this time.

REVIEW CRITERIA for ALL APPLICATIONS in the Multiple PI Pilot: The review criteria normally employed for NIH research grant applications have been modified slightly to accommodate both single and multiple PI applications.  The revised language for multiple PI applications is indicated in bold font below:

Significance: Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? 

Approach: Are the conceptual or clinical framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well-integrated, well-reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?  For applications designating multiple PIs, does the Leadership Plan ensure that there will be sufficient coordination and communication among the PIs?  Are the administrative plans for the management of the research project appropriate, including plans for resolving conflicts?

Innovation: Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches or methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?

Investigators: Are the principal investigator(s) and key personnel appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level(s) of the principal investigator(s) and other researchers? Do the principal investigator(s) and investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment(s), or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support? 

MULTIPLE PI IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE: The first Multiple PI awards will be issued in September, 2006. The NIH anticipates that Multiple PI leadership will be an option for most research project grant  applications beginning with the February 1, 2007 application receipt date. After that, Multiple PIs are likely to be an option for other grant mechanisms as they transition to electronic submission.  Note: The NIH does not anticipate using linked awards for applications received outside of the pilot program until computer systems can be developed to provide an efficient method for handling linked applications and for recognizing and reporting on linked awards.   The NIH expects systems to be in place that will accommodate general use of linked applications and awards during Fiscal Year 2008.  Prior to that time, linked awards will be available only when announced in advance for a specific initiative. 

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

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