Release date:  September 7, 1999

National Institutes of Health

This notice addresses several  issues regarding application submission.  
It does not contain any new policies, but is a reminder and further 
explanation of existing policies.

1)   Submission of Duplicate Applications

The PHS has a long-standing policy not to review the same or very 
similar applications more than once.  There are many reasons for this 
policy, particularly the need to avoid added burdens on the review 
system, as well as on principal investigators and their institutions.  
Therefore, the submission of identical or of very similar applications 
to the agencies of the PHS or to different Institutes/Centers within an 
agency is not allowed, even if the duplicate submissions occur for 
different review rounds or in response to different initiatives such as 
Program Announcements or Requests for Applications. The only exceptions 
for this policy are: 1) applications for an Independent Scientist Award 
(K02) proposing essentially identical research as proposed in an 
application for an individual research project; and 2) an individual 
research project that is identical to a subproject of a program project 
or center grant application. 

Thus, the Division of Receipt and Referral, Center for Scientific 
Review (CSR) will not accept any application that is essentially the 
same as one currently pending initial review, unless the applicant 
first withdraws the pending application.  Nor will CSR accept any 
application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed.  
Applicants may submit substantial revisions of applications already 
reviewed, but such applications must include an Introduction addressing 
the previous critique and indicating how the amended application 
differs from the previous version.  

2) Limitation on Submission of Amended/Revised Applications

In June 1996 ( NIH 
announced a policy limiting the number of amended versions of an 
application that will be accepted to two.  The amended versions must be 
submitted within two years of the initial, unamended application.  If 
an applicant is not successful after three attempts at funding (the 
initial submission and two revisions), she/he is expected to make a 
significant change in the direction and approach for subsequent 
research applications.  It is not appropriate to submit an essentially 
identical or only slightly changed application as a new application.  
Such applications identified by the Division of Receipt and Referral, 
Center for Scientific Review will be withdrawn from the review process.  

3) Type Size and Page Limitations

The application kits (PHS 398, PHS 416, SBIR, and STTR) to be used in 
submitting grant applications to the NIH include instructions and 
limitations on the type size to be used in preparing applications and 
page limitations.  In all cases, the type size is to be no smaller than 
10 point, the type density no more than 15 characters per inch, and 
there are to be no more than 6 lines of type within a vertical inch.  
Page limitations are specified in each application kit and may be 
modified in specific instructions for Program Announcements or Requests 
for Applications.  Peer reviewers (who are themselves applicants) 
expect that all applications they are asked to review will conform to 
these requirements.   Applications that do not conform to these 
instructions may be returned to the applicant organization before 
assignment or withdrawn from the review process after assignment.  
Therefore, applicants are urged to be sure that their applications 
conform to these requirements.  

4) Submission of AIDS and AIDS-related Applications

NIH has established an expedited receipt/review/award schedule for AIDS 
and AIDS-related applications. Such applications have receipt dates 
several months later than nonAIDS applications (May 1 submission for 
peer review in July and October Council consideration, September 1 
submission for peer review in October and January Council 
consideration, and January 2 submission for peer review in March and 
May Council consideration).  If applications are submitted earlier, 
they will not be assigned earlier, but applicants will be contacted 
regarding the special  AIDS dates and asked if they wish the 
applications returned for further work or held for the next receipt 
date.  This is done so that NIH complies with the requirement that the 
interval between submission and funding decision not be longer than six 
months.  Therefore, the submission of an AIDS application at an earlier 
date will not result in an earlier review and applicants may wish to 
take full advantage of the additional time to work on their 

Questions on any of these policies should be directed to the Division 
of Receipt and Referral, Center for Scientific Review at 301-435-0715.

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