NCCIH Research Blog

Tips on Applicant and Grantee Policies in Relation to COVID-19

June 1, 2021

Martina Schmidt, Ph.D.

Martina Schmidt, Ph.D.

Chief

Office of Scientific Review

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

At almost 1½ years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) remains deeply concerned for the health and safety of scientists involved in our funded research projects, and the impact that this public health emergency has on the biomedical enterprise. These concerns and the related efforts are something I see shared throughout all the Institutes and Centers across the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 
 
I’m writing today to assure our funding recipients and applicants that NCCIH staff understand the burden this public health crisis is putting on our investigators. We are doing our best, and will keep doing so, to help you continue your research or submit an application. You may wonder what this means for the submission and review of your application. I offer the following key points and resources:

  • Review meetings continue to be conducted as planned and scheduled. To ensure the safety of our reviewers while conducting high-quality reviews, we continue to be flexible about accommodating virtual participation by reviewers for aspects of peer review that often were previously handled by in-person meetings. 
  • COVID-19–related disturbances will not impact your review. Reviewers are being told to assume that issues resulting from the coronavirus pandemic will be resolved prior to award and to not allow concerns about temporary, emergency situations to affect scoring.
  • For funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) that use NIH standard due dates, those dates are still in effect. We have a flexible stance, however, on applications submitted within NIH’s standard 2-week window of consideration policy for late applications. An exception is FOAs stating in their “Key Dates” section that they will not allow late submissions. If you must submit a late application, please read NOT-OD-15-039 carefully and include the requested cover letter explaining your late timing.
  • Any COVID-19 contingency plans you have should not be included as part of your application.
  • NIH has issued an exception to its standard policy on post-submission materials: we will accept preliminary data in many instances. However, this will not be allowed if the FOA did not allow preliminary data in the application, or you are applying for an emergency or urgent competitive revision. The post-submission deadline is 30 days before the related study section meets. Please see NOT-OD-20-123 for more details. 
  • Two other important NIH resources to consult are:

If after consulting these NIH resources you have follow-up questions, please email me at schmidma@mail.nih.gov and one of my team will respond. Please be assured we do understand that this is a challenging time for all. We wish you safety and good health.

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