Notice of Special Accommodations for Submission and Reporting Requirements for Program Directors/Principal Investigators Responding to the West Africa Ebola Outbreak

Notice Number:


Key Dates

Release Date: October 16, 2014  

Related Announcements


Issued by

National Institutes of Health (NIH)


An outbreak of Ebola has been ongoing in West Africa since March 2014. This outbreak is the largest outbreak of Ebola in history. In appreciation of the humanitarian assistance being provided by Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PDs/PIs) who travel to West Africa to participate in the Ebola outbreak response and other Ebola-related public health emergencies, NIH is making an accommodation to provide additional time for application submission and grant related reporting for these investigators.

Delays in Grant Application Submissions

The NIH realizes that PD/PI time spent in West Africa responding to the Ebola outbreak may delay grant application submissions to NIH.  It is not necessary to get permission in advance for delays in grant application submissions under these circumstances. Applicants can submit to any open funding opportunity announcement with standard due dates upon their return.

This accommodation will be extended to individuals who meet all of these conditions:

  • Served in West Africa as part of the response to the Ebola outbreak at the time of the application due date
  • Serve as PD/PI (or Multiple PD/PI) on the late application
  • Include a cover letter with their application that documents specifically that the delay was caused by the PD/PI being engaged in Ebola-related response activities in West Africa at the time the application was due. 

NIH will consider these late applications based on the amount of delay caused by the emergency response and the processing time required to prepare each submitted application for peer review. 

  • These applications will be reviewed no later than 120 days after receipt, and will be initially assigned to the next possible Council meeting following review. 
  • Applications may be moved to an earlier Council if time permits.
  • The application must be submitted to an active funding opportunity announcement that has standard due dates (this excludes RFAs).

Extensions of Time for Financial and Other Reporting

Progress reports are typically required annually as part of the non-competing continuation award process.  While late submission or receipt of incomplete progress reports may delay the issuance of an award or result in a reduced award amount under normal circumstances, NIH understands that some progress report delays due to Ebola response activities are unavoidable.  Therefore, if researchers are unable to complete progress reports before the scheduled due date, they should promptly contact the NIH contacts listed on the Notice of Award. 

In limited circumstances institutions may also have difficulty submitting financial (cash transaction) reports through the HHS Payment Management System, or submitting invention reports required under the Bayh-Dole Act.  In these cases institutions should contact the Grants Management Specialist contact listed on the Notice of Award for assistance.

Reminders on Existing Authorities under NIH Standard Terms of Award

As a general reminder, NIH Standard Terms of Award include several automatic authorities that may prove helpful for PDs/PIs who encounter delays while responding to the Ebola outbreak: 

No-Cost Extensions:  Unless otherwise restricted, all NIH grantees retain the authority to extend the final budget period of a project period without additional funds.  Notification of this action is required through the eRA Commons No-Cost Extension feature.

Carryover of Unobligated Balances:  Many NIH grants include a provision to automatically carry over an unobligated balance from one budget period to any subsequent budget period.  Grantees should check the Notice of Award to determine if carryover is an automatic provision or requires NIH prior approval.

Cost Related Prior Approvals:  NIH prior approval is not required to rebudget funds for any direct cost item that the applicable cost principles identify as requiring prior approval, unless the incurrence of costs is associated with, or is considered to be, a change in scope.  

For more information on these authorities, as well as authorities that do require NIH prior approval, see Sections 8.1 and 8.2 of the NIH Grants Policy Statement


For inquiries on a specific grant, please contact the NIH contacts listed on the Notice of Award.

For inquiries about delays in grant application submissions, please contact:

Division of Receipt and Referral
Center for Scientific Review
Telephone: 301-435-0715