NIH Announces Changes to Application Form and Instructions - 10/20/09

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released information about changes to the PHS 398 and the SF 424 ( application packages.

The full announcement about the restructured application forms and instructions for fiscal year 2011 funding (NOT-OD-09-149) is located on the NIH Web site. The changes involve new, restructured versions of the paper PHS 398 -- new and renewal -- and electronic SF424 ( application packages and instructions, which will be available by December 2009.

Applicants must use the new application packages for submissions targeting due dates on or after Jan. 25, 2010. Changes include a significantly shorter page limit and restructured application packages. Once released, new forms can be found on the NIH Forms and Applications Web page.

Other details concerning the changes are:

-- Applications submitted Jan. 25, 2010, and after MUST use the new forms and instructions. Applications using the incorrect forms will be delayed or not reviewed.

-- Between now and December 2009, new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) without accompanying packages will be published. In December, the new packages will be available for download for most activity types. Applicants must then return to the FOA to download the new package for due dates on or after Jan. 24, 2010. Identification for the new application package will be “ADOBE_FORMS_B.”

-- Shortened page limits for the Research Strategy section will be implemented. For current page limits less than 25, the new limit is six pages. For current page limits greater than 25, the new limit is 12 pages. If the FOA requires page limits that differ, follow the FOA.

-- Three sections of the current research plan will be consolidated into one single section. The Background and Significance, Preliminary Studies and Research Design and Methods will become one section. The form within will be restructured to reflect this change. For more information, investigators should review the restructured application forms and instructions for fiscal year 2011 funding page available through the NIH Web site.

-- The Resources section will require a description of how the scientific environment will contribute to the success of the project, unique features of the environment and for early stage investigators, the institutional investment in the success of the investigator.

-- The Biographical Sketch will incorporate a new personal statement as Part A. Applicants must limit the list of selected peer-reviewed publications to no more than 15. These changes were effective Oct. 1 for progress reports so investigators may begin to include the new format in competing applications prior to Jan. 25, 2010.

Clarification for timing and page limits is available through the NIH Web site.

For more information, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services page on the Sponsored Program Services Web site.