Full Text NOT-97-005
NIH Guide, Volume 26, Number 14, May 2, 1997
P.T. 34

  Grants Administration/Policy+ 

National Institutes of Health
The information provided below will guide the NIH Institutes and
Centers (IC) in their funding decisions on Research Project Grants in
FY 1997.  Research Projects are primarily investigator-initiated
basic science research, including R01s, R03s, R29s, P01s and U01s.
This group does not include SBIR/STTR awards.  The core principles,
which are not specifically associated with FY 97, remain essentially
the same as in recent years.  The funding strategies reflect some
changes due to the FY 97 appropriation level and associated
congressional directives.
Core Principles
1.  Grants will be awarded on the basis of reasonable and allowable
costs consonant with the principles of sound cost management and in
consideration of Institute or Center priorities, constraints on the
growth of average grant costs, and the availability of funds.
2.  The award of noncompeting research project grants at committed
levels continues to be the cornerstone of the NIH Financial
Management Plan and is the basis of the plan~s credibility with the
scientific community and Congress.
3.  Determination of commitments for future years must take into
consideration stability of support for investigators, optimum
portfolio balance, and opportunities to address emerging problems.
Fiscal Year 1997 Funding Strategies
1.  The direct cost level for the future years of FY 1997 new and
competing continuation awards, on the average, will not exceed the
direct cost level of the previous budget period by more than 3
percent.  The 4 percent adjustment factor used to calculate future
year direct costs for grants made prior to FY 97 will remain in
effect (see 2. below).  NIH staff may make exceptions for
specifically justified programmatic requirements and one-time, non-
recurring costs such as equipment.
2.  For noncompeting grants, every effort will be made to make awards
at the committed levels.  If fiscal conditions in an IC are such that
funding at the committed levels is not possible, the IC will consult
with the Deputy Director for Extramural Research, NIH, to determine
an appropriate resolution.
3.  For competing grants, budgetary reductions from the requested
level will be achieved through a combination of initial review and
Council/Board recommendations, staff review for cost allocability,
allowability, and reasonableness, and programmatic adjustments to
arrive at an appropriate funding level.  Each IC will develop a plan
that specifies the general rationale and methodology for adjustments
based on programmatic considerations.  This plan will be available as
part of the IC official program file.
4.  Based on adjustments to the project, IC staff, in consultation
with the principal investigator, will decide if a new statement of
specific aims is required.  When reductions are 25% or more below the
IRG recommended level, staff will obtain a revised statement of
specific aims, a revised budget and/or revised timetable, as
appropriate for the project, which must be approved and countersigned
by the institution, and approved by program and grants management
staff.  This material serves as documentation of budgetary and
programmatic adjustments described in this paragraph and in item (3)
above.  To ensure initial review group understanding of the modified
scope of a funded project, the approved statement of revised aims
should be submitted by the investigator in competing continuation
grant applications.
5.  For competing continuation grants, one factor in arriving at the
award amount will be the level of support in prior years and the
extent to which the IC can permit growth within the existing
constraints on average costs.
6.  The average length of research project grants will not exceed
four years.
7.  In making funding decisions, ICs will consider the total costs of
a grant, especially for those grants near the IC funding payline.
For further information, contact the Grants Management Specialist or
Health Scientist Administrator responsible for your award.  Their
names and telephone numbers are indicated on the Notice of Grant

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