Announcing a New Business Process for Submitting Revised Project Summary/Abstracts, Specific Aims, and/or Public Health Relevance Statements when Changing the Scope of Proposed Research Projects

Notice Number: NOT-OD-09-088

Key Dates
Release Date: May 5, 2009

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (


This notice is to advise applicants of a new business process for documenting changes in scope for proposed research projects. These changes can result from applicant discussions with NIH grants management or program staff and require that the applicant provide NIH with updated Project Summary/Abstract, Specific Aims, and/or Public Health Relevance sections.  For example, some grant applications will require reductions in scope in order to be accomplished in the 2 years or less required by the Recovery Act, thus requiring modifications to the Project Summary/Abstract, Specific Aims, and/or Public Health Relevance sections. 

Effective for all Project Summary/Abstract, Specific Aims, and/or Public Health Relevance sections revised after the publication date of this notice, this new business process will facilitate accurate storage of the revised information, and allow the data to be analyzed and accurately reported to the public.


When requested by NIH, PD/PIs and applicant organization officials should discuss potential changes in scope with NIH Program Officials and revise the Project Summary/Abstract, Specific Aims, and/or Public Health Relevance sections of their application as appropriate. Once all issues are resolved, applicants should e-mail a document with final versions of the revised sections to the IC-designated e-mail address (normally either a Program Official, Grants Management Official, or centralized e-mail box) as a single Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) file. Be reminded that all revised application information submitted to the NIH must be approved by an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR). 

If submitting a PDF document, please be sure to create the PDF with appropriate software as NIH systems will not be able to read a scanned file. Faxed documents will not be accepted.  A sample list of PDF generator software is available at to help applicants save their documents as PDFs, many of which are free or inexpensive.  NIH does not endorse any particular software.

The three headings listed below must be included in the document that is submitted even if a particular section had no changes from the previous submission.  If there are no changes for a section include the header but leave the text area blank to ensure appropriate processing of this information by NIH’s electronic systems.  A template for providing this information can be found at and

  1. Modified Project Summary/Abstract Section

    Provide a summary of the proposed activity suitable for dissemination to the public.  It should be a self-contained description of the project and should contain a statement of objectives and methods to be employed.  It should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields and insofar as possible understandable to a scientifically or technically literate lay reader.  This abstract must not include any proprietary or confidential information.  This section must be no longer than 30 lines of text.

  2. Modified Specific Aims Section 

    List the broad, long-term objectives and the goal of the specific research proposed, for example, to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology.  One page is recommended

  3. Modified Public Health Relevance Section 

    Using no more than two or three sentences, describe the relevance of this research to public health.  In this section, be succinct and use plain language that can be understood by a general, lay audience.


Questions concerning this Notice should be referred to