Restructured Application Forms and Instructions for Submissions for FY2011 Funding

Notice Number: NOT-OD-09-149

Update: The following updates relating to this announcement have been issued:

Key Dates
Release Date: September 16, 2009

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (


This notice announces that new, restructured versions of the paper PHS 398 and electronic SF 424 (R&R) application packages and instructions will be available by December 2009.  

Applicants must download and use the new application packages for submissions targeting due dates on or after January 25, 2010 (funding for fiscal year (FY) 2011 and beyond).  Changes include significantly shorter page limits and restructured application packages.  These changes will affect all competing applications submitted to NIH, as follows:


In June 2007, the NIH initiated a formal, agency-wide effort to review the peer review system ( In December 2008, NIH announced an updated timeline for implementing changes resulting from this initiative.

One action resulting from the initiative, the use of enhanced review criteria, was implemented per this timeline for applications submitted for FY2010 funding. To align the structure and content of applications with review criteria, and to shorten the length of applications to fulfill another action from the initiative, NIH will soon implement a shortened and restructured application format for submissions for FY2011 funding (beginning with due dates on or after January 25, 2010). 

Although shorter page limits were used for applications submitted in response to initiatives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; Recovery Act), and others, the new format (including shortened page limits) will apply to nearly all types of applications submitted to the NIH and will utilize new instructions and application forms.


All new or resubmission applications targeting due dates on or after January 25, 2010 (for FY2011 funding consideration) must use the new application forms and instructions (even if the initial submission followed the current application forms and instructions; see NIH resubmission policies at NOT-OD-09-016 and NOT-OD-09-003 ).

Applications submitted using incorrect application forms (including applications that have an incorrect mix of old and new forms) will be delayed and may not be reviewed.

AIDS applications that are intended for review in the May 2010 council round and submitted by reviewers who are eligible for continuous submission (see NOT-OD-08-026 and NOT-OD-09-114 ) will use the existing forms and instructions.

Between now and December 2009, NIH will publish new Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) without accompanying electronic application packages.  By December 2009, NIH will post the new application packages in all active FOAs, with the exception of the following, which will be available in early 2010:

NIH will issue a Guide Notice when the new forms and instructions are available.  New parent announcements will be issued at the same time that the new application packages become available. Additionally, all active FOAs will be updated.  The FOA changes will be completed at the same time that the new application packages and instructions are posted. 

Applicants MUST return to the FOA (or the reissued PARENT ANNOUNCeMENT) to download the new application forms and instructions for due dates on or after January 25, 2010.

The following table provides the final standard due dates for the current application format and the first due dates with the new format. The current version of the SF 424 (R&R) form is identified with the text “ADOBE-FORMS-A” in the competition ID field that is visible in the application header information and when downloading the application package from  The new SF 424 (R&R) form will be identified as “ADOBE_FORMS_B”. The new paper PHS 398 form will be dated June 2009.

Activity Code

Final Due Date for Current Forms

First Due Date for New Forms

P (Program Project and Center)



T (Training)



C06/UC6, R18/U18, R24/U24, R25, G07, G08, G11, G13, G20, D71/U2R,
M01, S06, S11, S21, S22, SC1, SC2, SC3, U19, U45, U54, U56






R01, U01



K (Career Development)



R03, R21, R33, R21/R33, R34, R36



R41, R42, R43, R44



F (Individual NRSA Fellowship)






F31 Diversity Fellowship



AIDS and AIDS-Related Applications (supersedes ALL dates shown above)



New Application Structure and Length

Shortened Page Limits. The page limit for the new Research Strategy section will be 6 or 12 pages, according to the chart below.  One additional page will be allowed for Specific Aims.  As always, if the FOA requires page limits that differ from the application instructions, the FOA page limits should be followed.    For resubmission and revision applications for most programs, the Introduction will be limited to one page.

Current Page Limit
(Section 2-5 of the Research Plan)

New Page Limit
(Research Strategy)






Follow FOA Instructions

For individual Career Development (K) applications, the Research Strategy includes Candidate Information, and will be limited to 12 pages.

The Program Plan for Institutional Career Development and Research Training (T) Awards, including K12, Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional NRSA Applications, International Training Program Planning Grants and Grants in Epidemiology (D43 and D71), and Education Projects (R25) remains at 25 pages, or as indicated in specific FOAs. The Introduction to Resubmission Application for Training (T, D43, D71), R25 and K12 applications will be three pages.

Additional detail on changes to page limits for specific sections of the application, organized by activity code, may be found at the Table of Page Limits.

Alignment of the Application with Peer Review Criteria. To coordinate with the enhanced peer review criteria, changes will be made to the following sections of the application forms and instructions: 1) Research Plan, 2) Resources, and 3) Biographical Sketch.

Current Research Plan
(Section 5.5)

Restructured Research Plan
(Section 5.5)

1.Introduction to Application (Resubmission or Revision Applications only)

1. Introduction to Application (Resubmission or Revision Applications only)

2. Specific Aims

2. Specific Aims

3. Background and Significance

3. Research Strategy
a. Significance
b. Innovation
c. Approach

  • Preliminary Studies for New Applications
  • Progress Report for Renewal/Revision Applications

4. Preliminary Studies/Progress Report

5. Research Design and Methods

6. to 12.

4. to 10. (renumbered)

13. Select Agent Research

11. Select Agent Research (modified)

14. to 17.

12. to 15. (renumbered)

The Biographical Sketch changes are also implemented for the PHS 2590 Noncompeting Continuation Progress Report (Notice OD-09-139), effective October 1, 2009.  Although not immediately required in competing applications, institutions may begin to include a Personal Statement and 15 or fewer publications in Biographical Sketches (as described in this Policy Announcement) prior to January 25, 2010 due dates, if desired.


For more details, visit Details of Application Changes.

Concurrent with the implementation of Enhancing Peer Review changes, NIH will also be transitioning to the most recent version of the OMB-cleared application forms that include the changes required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA).

It is not appropriate to mix old and new paper application forms; such applications will be delayed and may not be reviewed.  Please closely follow the instructions detailed in the application package.

Related Notices

NOT-OD-09-023 “Enhancing Peer Review: The NIH Announces Updated Implementation Timeline”
NOT-OD-09-025 “Enhancing Peer Review: The NIH Announces Enhanced Review Criteria for Evaluation of Research Applications Received for Potential FY2010 Funding”.


Questions should be directed to

For more information on NIH’s Enhancing Peer Review effort, visit


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

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