Request for Information (RFI): Proposed Change in Grant Appendix Materials

Notice Number: NOT-OD-06-088

Key Dates
Release Date: August 2, 2006

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), (http://www.ahrq.gov/)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) are evaluating guidelines for grant application appendixes in an effort to streamline the application and review processes. This RFI requests input from interested applicants, reviewers and other members of the research community regarding the  way appendix materials should be used in the grant submission, review and management process. Comments will be considered in the development of new policies on appendix materials for various grant programs. A similar Request for Information was published in the Federal Register on July 31, 2006. 

Background

The goal of changing the guidelines for grant application appendix materials is to encourage applications to be as concise as possible while containing the information needed for expert scientific review. These changes should make application preparation and handling easier for both applicants and reviewers.

Current NIH policy indicates that the Appendix may not be used to circumvent the page limitations of the Research Plan. Appended publications may not be used to provide further details of methodologies or preliminary data described in the Research Plan. All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained. NIH application guide instructions note that the Appendix is sent only to those members of the Scientific Review Group (SRG) assigned as primary reviewers of the application.  Currently, unless otherwise stated in the solicitation, the following materials may be included in a grant application Appendix:

Investigators spend much time and energy developing applications to Federal Agencies. It is unclear whether appendix material which may or may not be read by members of the SRG improves current applications. Submission of unnecessary materials with grant applications wastes the time, energy and resources of investigators, applicant institutions, reviewers, and the NIH.

Proposed Changes

The following changes are being considered for implementation concurrent with NIH/AHRQ’s transition to the electronic grant application process and the SF-424 (R&R):

Information Requested

Information in the following areas will assist the NIH and AHRQ in developing new policies regarding submission of appendix materials. Respondents will be asked to indicate what perspective(s) they represent, i.e. reviewer and/or applicant, institutional official, etc.

  1. Is there a need to reduce the material submitted in the Appendix?  If yes, please provide specific types of material that could be eliminated.
  2. Is there information essential to the application’s review that cannot be included in the body of a grant application as proposed? If yes, please describe the material and identify applicable grant program(s).
  3. Is it necessary to include reprint and preprint PDFs as appendix material? If yes, please explain.
  4. Do you have concerns about discontinuing the submission of photographs or color images in the Appendix of electronic grant applications? If yes, please explain.
  5. Will the proposed changes favor or disfavor any specific group of investigators? If yes, please explain.

Responses

Responses should be submitted electronically to http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfi_files/rfi_appendix_add.htm and will be accepted through September 14, 2006. The response for each item will be limited to 500 words.

Any questions should be directed to appendix_comments@od.nih.gov.   

Acknowledgement of receipt of responses will not be made, nor will respondents be notified of the Government's assessment of the information received. No basis for claims against the Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or the Government's use of such information as either part of our evaluation process or in developing specifications for any subsequent announcement. Individual responses will be confidential. Any proprietary information should be so marked.


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