July 8, 2020
NOT-OD-20-086 - Flexibilities Available to Applicants and Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance Affected by COVID-19
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
The NIH is committed to supporting the biomedical research enterprise as the nation implements the President's Guidelines for Re-Opening America Again. This Notice provides guidance for investigators and institutions preparing NIH grant applications for the May 2021 Council round, beginning with applications submitted for the September 25, 2020 due date.
NIH grant applications should NOT include contingency plans that would outline steps needed to recover from temporary, emergency situations, or institutional return-to-the-workplace plans, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contingency plans will not be considered in peer review but, if needed, COVID-19 contingency plans will be requested and carefully considered by NIH staff before funding.
Reviewers will continue to receive instruction to assume that temporary, emergency problems arising from the COVID-19 pandemic will be resolved and complications related to COVID-19 should not affect their scores. Reviewers will be instructed to disregard situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e.g., temporary declines in productivity, availability of key personnel, proposed patient populations, animal facility shutdowns, etc.
Sally A. Amero, Ph.D.
NIH Review Policy Officer