NIH eSubmission Items of Interest – December 9, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

Please see below regarding important changes to the implementation date of the new Biosketch format; as well as changes to Resubmission Application requirements.

If you have any questions, please contact your Contract & Grant Officer.


NIH eSubmission Items of Interest – December 9, 2014

Biosketch Reprieve

Last Wednesday I received a panicked call from an applicant that had just pulled together 72 faculty biosketches for his training grant application due on January 25, 2015. His call was indicative of others that raised similar concerns. There have been mixed reviews on the biosketch changes themselves, but strong consensus regarding insufficient lead time for implementing the new format in time for multi-project and training programs due on January 25, 2015.

Concerns raised by the applicant community were the main driver in NIH issuing new biosketch guidance on Friday, December 5th (NOT-OD-15-032). The new guide notice supersedes the previous notice and provides a 4 month (one cycle) transition period which pushes out the date the new format becomes required to due dates on/after May 25, 2015. We still encourage folks to move to the new format for due dates on/after January 25. We plan to remove the old format pages and samples from our web site January 25 (leaving only the most current version approved by the Office of Management and Budget), but will continue to accept the old format until May 25.

This implementation timeline change also allows SciENcv support and updated resources (expected by the end of December) to be in place well in advance of full adoption of the new biosketch format. We appreciate all the SciENcv feedback we’ve received and the team is working hard to ensure the PDF and Word documents produced by the tool meet all the requirements of the new format (including data entry for new fields and compliant fonts and margins).

Identifying Changes in Resubmission Applications

Effective immediately and for all programs, there is no longer any need to mark up specific substantial changes in the specific aims, research strategy or other application attachments. It is sufficient to outline the changes made to the Resubmission application in the Introduction attachment. The Introduction must include a summary of substantial additions, deletions, and changes to the application and introduction page limits (1 page for most programs) have not changed. (NOT-OD-15-030)

The change is in response to confusion (and frankly conflicting guidance) on how changes should be identified. It also addresses concerns raised that the inline mark-ups provide too much emphasis on changes made and remove focus from the application as a whole.

Contacting the eRA Commons Help Desk

It’s no surprise that Help Desk call volume spikes on deadline days, especially close to 5 pm. If you’ve exhausted available resources (application guides, annotated form sets, FAQs) and need to reach out for support, don’t forget about the web ticketing option. It’s an especially good option if you need to alert the help desk of a system issue per our Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing system Issues.

Thought For the Day

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.

~Bryant H. McGill, Author

Take care, stay warm, and have a wonderful holiday season!


Sheri Cummins
Communications & Outreach
NIH Office of Extramural Research


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