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NCCIH Research Blog

Change Is in the Air for RPG and NRSA Grants

March 1, 2024

Jessica McKlveen, Ph.D.

Jessica McKlveen, Ph.D.


Office of Scientific Review

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

I’m writing today to update you on recent efforts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to revise and enhance some processes related to two types of grant applications:

  • Research Project Grants (RPGs) and 
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) fellowships

To our first topic: In a blog post in October 2023, Dr. Martina Schmidt, director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Division of Extramural Activities (DEA), provided the background and goals for a simplified peer review framework for RPGs. The changes, which she summarized, follow a period during which NIH carefully gathered and discussed input from many sources. NIH is implementing this revised review framework over the course of the next year for most RPG applications* with receipt deadlines of January 25, 2025, and beyond. 

NIH wants to help applicants, reviewers, grantees, and those who work with them prepare for these changes through various NIH resources and events. Visit the new Simplifying Review of Research Project Grant Applications website, including FAQs and the recording, slides, and transcript from a webinar held in November 2023 providing a high-level overview of the revised framework. As 2024 proceeds, more details on implementation of the framework will be released and follow-up webinars will take place. 

Also, NIH is recommending changes to the preparation and review of applications for NRSA fellowships. In a previous blog post, I provided background on this effort and an overview of NIH’s proposed changes. Implementation is expected to follow the same timeline as for RPGs above—i.e., for all NRSA applications with receipt deadlines of January 25, 2025, and beyond. You’ll find it helpful to visit the Recommendations for Improving NRSA Fellowship Review website, which includes the reasons for changes and NIH’s proposed recommendations. 

We in the NCCIH DEA recognize that these changes will have important implications for how you prepare your application and how it is reviewed. We are confident you will notice benefits from the process enhancements and are here to support you as the changes are implemented.

* This blog post was corrected on March 10, 2024 to state that most (not all) RPG applications will be affected. See FAQs for the list of RPGs currently affected.

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