Request for Information (RFI): Possible Page Limit Reduction For the Research Plan Section of the Research Project Grant (R01) Application

Notice Number: NOT-OD-07-014

Key Dates
Release Date: November 9, 2006
Response Date: January 5, 2007

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)

This is a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) regarding a possible change in the current 25-page limit of the Research Plan section (PHS 398 Sections A-D) of the NIH Research Project Grant (R01) application. Comments will be considered from interested applicants, reviewers and other members of the research community.

This request for information is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the government. The government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the government’s use of that information.

Background

The NIH is considering reducing the current 25 page limit for the Research Plan section of the research project grant (R01) application. A significant number of applicants and reviewers have suggested that NIH peer review could be improved by focusing less on experimental details and more on key ideas and the scientific significance of proposed projects.  In addition, recruitment of qualified reviewers has become increasingly difficult, resulting in greater reviewer turnover and reduced consistency from one review meeting to the next.

To ensure that the NIH review process identifies the most promising scientific projects, we are evaluating the possibility of shortening the Research Plan section and focusing it more on ideas and significance. A committee has been formed at NIH to gather additional information from the external community and explore possible options. We would like your opinion, as an applicant and/or reviewer, of this potential change.

Information Requested

Information in the following areas will help NIH determine whether to shorten the R01 application.   Depending on whether you are an applicant and/or a reviewer, please provide information in the following areas:

Applicant issues  

  1. Would a shorter grant application affect your ability to present your scientific ideas?
    Describe whether your ability would be the same, less, or greater.  

  2. Would a shorter application take less time to prepare?
    Describe whether your preparation time would be the same, less, or greater.

  3. In your opinion, which of the following models would best serve your needs?
    1. Five pages [1 for statement of question and significance, 1 for specific aims, 3 for approach],
    2. Ten pages [1 for specific aims, 1 for background and significance, 3 for preliminary data/progress, 5 for research design and methods],  
    3. Fifteen pages [1 for specific aims, 2 for background and significance, 4 for preliminary data/progress, 8 for research design and methods], or
    4. Twenty five pages [the current application format – 1 for specific aims, 2-3 for background and significance, 6-8 for preliminary data/progress, 13-16 pages for research design and methods.

Reviewer issues

  1. Would a shorter grant application affect your ability to judge the scientific merit of a proposed project? 
    Describe whether your ability would be the same, less, or greater.

  2. In your opinion, which of the following models would best serve your needs?
    1. Five pages [1 for statement of question and significance, 1 for specific aims, 3 for approach],
    2. Ten pages [1 for specific aims, 1 for background and significance, 3 for preliminary data/progress, 5 for research design and methods],
    3. Fifteen pages [1 for specific aims, 2 for background and significance, 4 for preliminary data/progress, 8 for research design and methods], or
    4. Twenty five pages [the current application format – 1 for specific aims, 2-3 for background and significance, 6-8 for preliminary data/progress, 13-16 pages for research design and methods.

  3. If you were assigned an equivalent number of shorter grant applications, would it affect your willingness to serve as a reviewer?  In your opinion, would your willingness be the same, moderately increased/decreased, or greatly increased/decreased.

 General issues

  1. If the page limit were reduced, should the review criteria be changed to emphasize key ideas and significance more strongly?

  2. Would a decreased page limit place any group of investigators or type of research at a disadvantage?  
    If yes, please describe which group(s) or type(s).

  3. Do you define your research as clinical?

  4. Do clinical research plans require more application space than basic research plans?
    (Note: assume that clinical protocols, letters of consent, data and safety monitoring plans, survey instruments, etc. would be in application sections outside the Research Plan.) If yes, please explain.

  5. Do you have additional comments about the effects of a shorter application on the NIH application/review process?

How to Submit a Response

Please submit responses through the following special Web site: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfi_files/rfi_research_plan_add.htm
(Alternatively, responses may be submitted by sending an email to orosc@csr.nih.gov.)

Responses will be accepted until January 5, 2007

All information provided will be processed and analyzed with strict anonymity.

The results obtained from the responses to this RFI will be available to the public on the CSR website. http://cms.csr.nih.gov/

Inquiry

Inquiries concerning this Notice may be directed to:

Cheryl Oros, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Planning, Evaluation & Analysis
6701 Rockledge Drive
Room 3030, MSC, 7776
Bethesda, MD
Phone: 301-435-1133
Fax: 301-480-3965
E-Mail: orosrfi@mail.nih.gov

Respondents will receive an automated email notification acknowledging receipt of their responses, but will not receive follow-up information concerning NIH’s assessment of the information received. No basis for claims against the NIH shall arise as a result of a response to this Request For Information, or from the NIH’s use of such information as either part of its evaluation process or in developing any subsequent policy or announcement.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
  USA.gov - Government Made Easy


Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.