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Frequently Asked Questions
Posting: December 10, 2012
Revised: September 8, 2017

In certain situations, the use of video technology can be vital in conveying key aspects of a grant application. In order to facilitate such applications, NOT-OD-12-141: Interim Guidance for Videos Submitted as NIH Application Materials provides policy and guidelines for investigators submitting videos and contemplating other non-traditional materials to accompany applications to the NIH. Following this guidance, you may submit short videos that can be uploaded into your electronic grant folder where reviewers can access them.

  1. May I include videos in my application submitted through
    No.  Applications with videos embedded in the research strategy or with hyperlinks to videos will be considered to be in violation of page limits and not reviewed.  Videos and hyperlinks to videos are also not allowed in the appendix submitted with your application.  Post-submission videos must be embedded in .pdf files with a maximum file size of 25 MB. This material can be submitted on CD/DVD or via e-mail and it will be uploaded to the grant folder by the SRO.
  2. May I submit devices or other media instead of a video?
    No.   However, you may submit a short video of your device in operation or video clips of other media such as software or database demonstrations.
  3. What must I include with my application in order to be able to submit a video?

    A cover letter indicating your intent to submit a video must be submitted with the application (NOT-OD-12-141).

    Images/”stills” and a brief description of each video must be included within the page limits of the research strategy.  There is no minimum number of images/”stills” required, but sufficient descriptive information, including images, must be provided so that reviewers will understand the information contained in the video you later submit, since not all reviewers may be able to access your video.

    Although closed-captioning is not required, it may be included to assist reviewers in understanding your video.

    If human subjects or personally identifiable information is presented in a video, the applicant organization is required to have appropriately consented and protected the human subjects.  Submission of this material through the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) certifies acceptance of this responsibility (see submission requirement below).
  4. What information may I include in my video? What information may not be included?

    The only acceptable content for videos is demonstrations of devices and experimental data with a temporal element, which means that you need to show how something functions or occurs over time, or demonstrates movement or change.

    For example, you may submit videos of unusual interventions or surgical procedures, prototype model use, visualization of 3-D structures or structural changes in molecules or cells, software or database demonstrations, educational materials or video games.

    Your videos may not be accepted if they include virtual tours of laboratories, equipment in place, platform presentations, advertisements, commercials, or PowerPoint presentations [unless requested by the Scientific Review Officer (SRO) in lieu of a site visit].
  5. How much video material may I submit?
    You may submit up to 2 minutes of video for applications such as an R01 or U01, R21, K, or SBIR/STTR, which have a single research plan, and up to 5 minutes of video for applications such as a P01 or U19, which have multiple research plans.  You may submit as many videos as you like, so long as the aggregate length does not exceed these limits.
  6. My intervention is considerably longer than 2 minutes. Why can’t I submit the full length of the intervention?
    The current guidance was stipulated at 2 minutes to minimize the potential file size of the videos, and also to moderate the potential burden on reviewers. If your intervention is longer than 2 minutes, you will need to determine which parts of the intervention are sufficiently described in the research strategy, and which parts may need visual information to understand.
  7. What is the recommended video format?
    Currently popular, cross-platform, video formats include mp4, mov, avi, flv, and wmv.  Because we cannot upload these kinds of files directly to the electronic grant folder, post-submission videos must be embedded in a .pdf file with a maximum file size of 25 MB.
  8. I'm having trouble embedding my video into a .pdf file. What am I doing wrong?

    Make sure that the software you are using has the ability to edit .pdf files.

  9. Why is the maximum file size only 25 MB if I am allowed to submit 2 (or 5) minutes of video?
    Due to limitations of our electronic grant folder, individual files must be 25 MB or less, but you may submit multiple files, as long as the aggregate length does not exceed 2 (or 5) minutes.
  10. How do I submit my video?
    The video can be submitted on CD/DVD or via e-mail to the SRO managing the review group, and it will be uploaded to your grant folder.
  11. Do I need to contact the SRO before I send video materials?
    Yes.  After the assignment of the application to a review group is visible in the eRA Commons, you should contact the SRO for that review group to discuss logistics for submission of any videos.
  12. What is the deadline for submitting videos?
    Videos that meet all of the above requirements may be submitted up to 30 calendar days before the peer review meeting.  After that time, no video materials will be accepted.
  13. Are there any additional requirements for submitting videos?
    Concurrence from the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) of the applicant organization is required. Although you create the video(s), the AOR must send the materials directly to the SRO, or must send his/her concurrence to you, and then you can forward both the video(s) and concurrence to the SRO. A communication from the PD/PI only or with a “cc” to the AOR will not be accepted.
  14. What happens to my video after it is submitted?

    The SRO will view your video(s) and determine whether they are acceptable.  You will be notified by the SRO about the status of the video. If the SRO has difficulty opening or viewing the video, the SRO may allow you one more chance to submit, if before the original deadline.

    Once accepted, the video(s) will be uploaded by the SRO into the electronic grant folder where reviewers may access them. You should be able to access your video in the grant folder from your eRA Commons account.  As with other grant materials, reviewers will be instructed to maintain confidentiality with video materials and not share those materials with others or download them to shared computers or drives.
  15. After I submitted my video, I noticed an error and wanted to resubmit. Is this possible?
    Once the video is in the grant folder, it cannot be removed. Therefore, be sure that your video is accurate and complete prior to submission. You will not be able to replace it.
  16. Will reviewers consider my video during the review?
    We will make all acceptable videos available to reviewers in the electronic grant folder.  However, due to technological constraints, they may not be able to view your videos, which is why we require that sufficient descriptive information is included in the application for reviewers to understand the content of your videos.

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