Tips for Grant Applicants During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Part II
March 24, 2022
As we navigate the third year of the pandemic, the Office of Scientific Review (OSR) at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) still receives many questions related to this unusual time. I offer this update to my first blog post (June 2021) on tips for applicants submitting grant applications during the pandemic.
Earlier guidance has been extended for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) August/October Council rounds. In addition, NIH recently provided some new guidance on applications for the spring 2022 due dates during the pandemic.
With regard to review panels, members will continue to be instructed to assume that any constraints arising from the pandemic will be resolved, and this should not affect their scoring. As an applicant, you should thus not include in your application contingency or recovery plans related to problems from the pandemic.
You can now address pandemic effects on productivity or other scoreable issues in your biosketch within the Personal Statement section. Reviewers will be instructed to take those pandemic-related circumstances into account when assessing your productivity and other score-driving factors, per NOT-OD-22-046.
Also important to note is that NIH extended the special exception for post-submission materials to grant applications submitted for the August/October Council rounds. We will continue to accept a one-page update with preliminary data as post-submission materials for funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) where that is allowed, as noted in NOT-OD-22-047.
Frequently, OSR receives questions about late applications. It may help you to know:
- NCCIH and NIH are continuing to take a very flexible stance for applications submitted within the 2-week late window of consideration following the FOA’s published deadline.
- You should include a cover letter containing an explanation for the late submission.
- No advance permission is given, however, for late applications.
- Examples of reasons why applications might be accepted late are provided in NOT-OD-15-039, in addition to reasons why they will not be accepted.
Two other important and timely resources that I suggest are:
- The NIH Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 Flexibilities webpage
- An NIH Extramural Nexus webpage, Extending Existing Guidance for Preparing Applications During COVID-19
We understand that these are difficult times for our applicant community. If, after reviewing these resources, you have any questions about the NCCIH grant application process, please feel free to reach out to OSR or the NCCIH contact listed on your FOA of interest.
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