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Grants and Funding: Extramural Programs (EP)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ Pages

Revising an unsuccessful grant application

Q. What happens to my application if I don't get funded?

A: Your application is active for up to two years from the original date of submission, during which time it may be considered again for funding if the priority score was in a fundable range.

Q: If I don't get funded, can I apply again?

A: For most ongoing grant programs, you may submit only one revision of your application. The steps for preparing an amended application are described below. Applications submitted in response to an RFA cannot be submitted as amended applications, but they can be submitted as new applications to another grant program. See below for more details about resubmitting an unfunded RFA application. Talk to your NLM program officer about options for your application.

Q: Can I resubmit an unfunded application that was submitted to a Request for Application (RFA) program to another grant program?

A: Yes. Since an RFA often has special considerations of eligibility, scientific scope, and review criteria, unfunded RFA applications may be resubmitted as new applications to another FOA or activity code as long as the application is modified appropriately to fit the application requirements of the new FOA or activity code. Please note the following conditions:

  • When an application that was submitted in response to an RFA is not funded and the investigator wishes to submit an application on this topic as an investigator-initiated application, it is to be submitted as a new application, unless provision for a resubmission is clearly delineated in the RFA. In addition, if a subsequent RFA specifically solicits resubmissions of unfunded applications from a previous RFA, the instructions in the second RFA should be followed. In all other cases, an application submitted in response to an RFA and then resubmitted as an investigator-initiated application must be prepared as a new application.
  • When a previously unfunded application that was originally submitted as an investigator-initiated application is to be submitted in response to an RFA, it is to be prepared as a new application.
  • When an unfunded application that was reviewed for a particular research grant activity code is to be submitted for a different grant activity code, it is to be prepared as a new application. In such cases it is not possible to continue both application lineages and it is not possible to submit a resubmission application for the first activity code. In addition, due to the NIH policy of not allowing submission of, similar, essentially identical, or identical applications, no resubmission under the resubmission policy stated above may occur until after the peer review process is completed and a summary statement has been provided to the applicant.

For additional information see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-09-100.html.

Q: Should I revise and reapply or start over on a new grant?

A: It depends on the nature of the specific weaknesses or problems in your proposal. Some "fatal flaws" are fairly straightforward and simple to identify and correct; others are less so. When reviewers assess an amended application, they look to see how shortcomings identified in the summary statement are addressed, but will also review the entire proposal, as a whole, for strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes, fixing one set of problems reveals another set. Thus your priority score could actually go up (worsen) for a revised application.

Q: What do I have to do to submit a revised proposal?

A: Your amended application must contain all the parts of the original application, plus an Introduction of 3 pages or less that specifies significant changes made to the application. Follow the instructions in PHS 398, Section 9. The Introduction to the revised application should summarize additions, deletions, revisions, and your responses to criticisms in the summary statement. All changes in the body of the research plan should be highlighted typographically, e.g., by bracketing, bolding, or italicizing. If the changes are so extensive as to include most of the text, this exception should be explained in the Introduction. If nothing has changed in the budget, resources section, or biosketches, you may use what was submitted with the original. You should incorporate an updated description of any relevant work performed since the original submission, and updated letters of support. The receipt dates for revised grant applications are March 01, July 01, and November 01. See http://www.nlm.nih.gov/ep/Deadlines.html

Q: Do I have to make every change the reviewers suggested?

A: You don't have to make all the changes suggested by the reviewers. In the Introduction to the revised application, you should respond to all reviewer concerns and explain your rationale for making or not making recommended changes.

Q: What happens to my original application when I submit a revised proposal?

A: The revised application replaces the prior unfunded version in the NIH administrative data system.

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