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New Investigator (NI)/ Early Stage Investigator (ESI)
Grand Opportunities (GO) awards
Challenge Grants - General Questions
Challenge Grant topics
Use of NHLBI ARRA funds
Payline and Expanded Payline

New Investigator (NI)/Early Stage Investigator (ESI)

Q1.    Will NIs and ESIs who are principal investigators (PIs) or co-PIs on a Challenge Grant award lose their NI or ESI status?
A1.    Yes. The Challenge Grant is considered a substantial research project award, and thus award recipients will lose NI and ESI status.

Q2.    Will ESI/NIs receive special peer review consideration for Challenge Grants?
A2.    Stage 1 reviewers will be instructed to keep the ESI/NI status of the investigator in mind when evaluating the proposal, but no other special consideration will be given in review.

Q3.    Will ESI/NIs receive special funding consideration for Challenge Grants?
A3.    Yes. The NHLBI considers a number of factors in making all funding decisions, including scientific merit, program priorities (e.g., research needs and scientific opportunities), and ESI/NI status.

Q4.    Will ESIs and NIs receive special funding consideration under the expanded payline for R01s?
A4.    Yes, NIs with scores from 20.1 to 30.0 percentile are eligible for special funding consideration. ESIs with scores from 25.1 to 35.0 percentile are permitted to submit a brief written response to the critiques included in the summary statement. Those applicants whose responses are found to be satisfactory by NHLBI program staff will be eligible for special funding and for funding for all years recommended by the study section, with the first 2 years being supported with ARRA funds and the remaining years being supported by regularly appropriated funds.

Grand Opportunities (GO) awards

Q1.    Are the topic areas listed on the NHLBI website for GO awards (RC2) the only topics about which the NHLBI wants to receive proposals?
A1.    The published topics reflect the Institute's views regarding priority areas that should be funded through the RC2 mechanism. However, GO grant applications may be submitted on any investigator-initiated topics that meet the criteria described in the RFA (see: It is possible that an application focusing on a topic outside the listed priority areas will be found to be so compelling that the Institute will consider funding it.

Q2.    If an investigator is interested in submitting a GO Grant application on a topic other than those listed on the NHLBI website, to whom should the Letter of Intent (LOI) be sent?
A2.    The relevant contact information for submitting LOIs is provided at:

Q3.    Since the NHLBI will accept investigator-initiated topics, how will the appropriate review panels be convened?
A3.    The NHLBI will group applications by topic area and convene Special Emphasis Panels (SEPs). The SEPs will meet in person or by teleconference.

Q4.    How will the responsiveness of GO Grant applications be determined?
A4.    The NHLBI will establish an Institute-wide committee to assess responsiveness.

Q5.    Must applications to the Phase II Clinical Trials Program of Novel Therapies for Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases include a protocol and a sample consent?
A5.    Yes. An application must include an appropriate data and safety monitoring plan and an appendix that includes the protocol and a sample informed consent.

Q6.    For some conditions, randomized Phase II clinical trials are not possible. Would a non-randomized Phase II trial be responsive to the Phase II Clinical Trials Program of Novel Therapies for Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases announcement?
A6.    Yes. A non-randomized study is permissible if a convincing scientific justification can be provided.


Q1.    How many P30 applications will the NHLBI accept per institution?
A1.    An institution may submit one application from each of its components (e.g., School of Medicine, School of Public Health) that has its own Employer Identification Number (EIN) in the NIH Commons.

Q2.    Are either total costs or indirect costs limited for the P30 awards?
A2.    Limits are only set for direct costs: budgets for direct costs of up to $500,000 per year and project duration of up to two years may be requested, for a maximum of $1,000,000 direct costs over a two-year project period. Indirect costs should be included on the budget sheets in conformance with the standard submission process.

Q3.    Can the newly-independent investigator be hired at the Associate Professor level?
A3.    No. The criteria for a newly-independent investigator may be found at:

Q4.    How far back (preceding the award date) could someone have been hired or promoted from within and be considered a newly-independent investigator?
A4.    The effective date of the hire or internal promotion may not precede the application due date.  The objective of the program is to enable the hiring of newly-independent investigators, not to support those that have already been hired.

Challenge Grants - General Questions

Q1.    If an investigator has already submitted an application for a different mechanism, may the investigator apply for a Challenge Grant with the same scientific aims?
A1.    The long-standing NIH policy that no application essentially identical to a currently pending application will be accepted remains in effect. Applicants will have to withdraw any such application prior to submitting a Challenge Grant application. The NIH policy that all applications submitted in response to an RFA are considered to be new applications continues to apply, as does the policy that unsuccessful responses to RFAs may be submitted as new applications in response to any other NIH Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (see: A previously unsuccessful submission to any NIH FOA may be submitted as a new application in response to the Challenge Grant RFA, but it may not include an Introduction indicating how previously received criticisms have been addressed. The Challenge Grant RFA provides for only one receipt date and specifically states that resubmission of Challenge Grant applications will not be accepted. Unfunded Challenge Grant applications may be submitted as new applications in response to any other NIH FOA.

Q2.    What form is being used for Challenge Grant applications?
A2.    The SF424 must be used for all Challenge Grant applications, which means that all Challenge Grant applications must be submitted electronically. The Funding Opportunity Announcement for the Challenge Grant (RC1) program (see: must be read in conjunction with the application guidelines that may be found at:

Q3.    Will recipients of Challenge Grants (RC1s) be required to spend the funds by the end of FY 2010?
A3.    No, most of the RC1s will be 2 years, with project end dates through September 2011.

Q4.    Do the Challenge Grants require a minimum time commitment or level of effort?
A4.    No minimum level of effort is specified on the RC1 Funding Opportunity Announcement. The level of effort for the PI should be commensurate with the needs of the proposed research.

Q6.    What are the guidelines for a PI involved in a small business who applies for a Challenge Grant? Are they similar to SBIR/STTR requirements of partial employment?
A6.    Since the Challenge Grants will not be made as SBIR/STTR awards, the provisions of those programs will not apply to the RC1 awards. However, all other NIH policies regarding investigator involvement and conflict of interest will be applicable.

Q7.    The bibliography component of the Challenge Grant application has a one-page limit. Must the SF424 citation guidelines be followed, or may an abbreviated format be used?
A7.    The citations may be abbreviated for Challenge Grant applications only. The list of authors may be abbreviated to “First Author, et. al.” The remainder of each citation, including the title of the article, must follow the format described in the SF424 application guide (see:

Challenge Grant topics

Q1.    Does my topic fit in this xx challenge topic? What topic should I respond to? Is my topic suitable for funding by the NHLBI under ARRA?
A1.    Please talk to the program officer (PO) listed for that particular topic. Or, talk to a PO in the appropriate division/branch.

Q2.    Will any Challenge Grant Topics be added that are designed to stimulate basic research or address other scientific areas?
A2.    Although no additional Challenge areas will be identified, additional ARRA FOAs may entail a more basic focus or address other scientific areas.

Q3.    What does the asterisk by the Challenge Grant Topic mean?
A3.    The asterisk designates one of an Institute or Center's highest priority topics. However, applicants can respond to any of the listed topics.

Use of NHLBI ARRA funds

Q1.    Are the Challenge Grant topics the only new areas of research that the NHLBI will fund under ARRA?
A1.    No, the NHLBI will fund opportunities other than the Challenge Grants, e.g., Administrative Supplements and some applications that were scored but not funded in FY 2008 and FY 2009. Scientific merit will remain the primary funding consideration, but consideration will also be given to NHLBI program priorities, the likelihood that a proposed research project can be completed within 2 years, the extent to which a project meets the requirements of the ARRA, and relevant demographic considerations.

Q2.    How much money will be spent by the NHLBI under ARRA for:

  1. Challenge Grants
  2. Administrative Supplements
  3. Meritorious applications scored but not funded in FY 2008 and FY2009

A2.    TBD. But funding determinations will be based on scientific merit, program priorities, the likelihood that a proposed research project can be completed within 2 years, the extent to which a project meets the requirements of the ARRA, and relevant demographic considerations.

Q3.    How many Challenge Grants will the NHLBI fund?
A3.    TBD. The OD will allocate approximately $200 M to fund Challenge Grants.  The number of additional Challenge Grants to be supported by the NHLBI with ARRA funds will depend upon the quality of the applications received.  Scientific merit will remain the primary funding consideration, but consideration will also be given to NHLBI program priorities, the likelihood that the proposed research can be completed within 2 years, the extent to which a project meets the requirements of the ARRA, and relevant demographic considerations.

Q4.    Will any ARRA funds be used to reinstate administrative reductions, either in budget or award period, made to previously awarded grants?
A4.    No.

Q5.    Are SBIR applications eligible for support with ARRA funds?
A5.   Yes. However, ARRA funds are exempted from the SBIR/STTR set-aside requirement.

Q6.    If a proposal is submitted with multiple PIs, is it possible for one of the non-"contact" PIs to be based outside of the US?
A6.    Yes. However, domestic institutions/organizations that are planning to submit applications with foreign components should be aware that requested funding for any foreign component should not exceed 10% of the total requested direct costs or $25,000 (aggregate total for all subcontracts and subawards), whichever is less.

Q7.    May ARRA funds be used to support personnel who are not U.S. citizens?
A7.    Yes. The only restriction is on applicant institutions, with foreign institutions not being eligible for ARRA funds.

Q8.    Are personnel who are not U.S. citizens eligible for ARRA funds if the foreign institution is a subcontract to a domestic institution?
A8.    The purpose of the Recovery Act is to stimulate the American economy through job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, and other means. Consistent with these goals, domestic (United States) institutions/organizations planning to submit applications that include foreign components should be aware that requested funding for any foreign component should not exceed 10% of the total requested direct costs or $25,000 per year (aggregate total for a subcontract or multiple subcontracts), whichever is less.

Q9.    When will ARRA funds be awarded?
A9.    ARRA funds are expected to be awarded no later than September 30, 2009.

Payline and Expanded Payline

Q1.   Will R01 applications for FY 2010 funding be eligible for the expanded payline with ARRA funds?
A1.   No. Only applications for funding in FY 2008 or FY 2009 are eligible for the expanded payline.

Q2.   Will the payline for R01s change in FY 2009?
A2.   No. The payline will remain at the 15th percentile for established investigators.

Q3.   Will the NHLBI use ARRA funds for regular R01 competitions?
A3.   No. The NHLBI will not use the ARRA funds for funding regular NIH mechanisms in FY 2009 and FY 2010.  However, the Institute will be able to provide funds for two years of support for additional R01 grants (those applications submitted for funding in FY 2008 or FY 2009 that received percentile scores ranging from 15.1 through 25).

Q4.   If an application is eligible for the expanded payline for two-year funding, but an amended application has been submitted, does the amended application have to be withdrawn before review to be considered for a two-year award?
A4.   If an application is selected for two-year funding, the applicant will have to decide whether to accept the offer of two-year ARRA funds, or to proceed with review of the amended application. Applicants with amended applications pending for the May 2009 Council will be able to know their scores prior to having to decide whether to accept the two-year funding. Applicants with amended applications pending for the October 2009 Council (FY 2010 funding) will not be able to know their scores prior to having to decide whether to accept two-year funding. If an applicant accepts the two-year ARRA funding, the NHLBI will withdraw the amended application at the time of award. Applicants should note that NHLBI funding guidelines will change in FY 2010, with applications being percentiled by amendment status. (see:

Q5.   What will be the start date for a two-year award?
A5.   The start date will be no later than September 30, 2009.

Q6.   If an applicant accepts a two-year award, can a new application be submitted for the withdrawn aims?
A6.   Yes. An applicant can submit the withdrawn aims in a new application, but a brief cover letter should be included, explaining why some of the aims may appear to overlap with a previous application.

Q7.   Are R01 applicants who are revising their specific aims and budgets for two year ARRA awards allowed to increase their level of effort or add new personnel?
A7.    Applicants should propose aims that can be accomplished within 2 years along with the level of effort and budgets commensurate with doing so. They should not propose total effort or personnel levels that exceeds what was in the original application.


Q1.   What mechanisms are eligible for administrative supplements?
A1.   Only the following mechanisms are eligible for administrative supplements from the NHLBI:  R01s and R21s. Please see for additional information.

Q2.   Will the NHLBI accept a revision (formerly termed competitive supplement) application for ARRA funds?
A2.   No.  The NHLBI will NOT be participating in the revision program under ARRA.

Q3.   How do I submit a request for an administrative supplement?
A3.   Please see NOT-OD-09-056 (, but note that the NHLBI is only participating in the ARRA Administrative Supplement announcement to a limited extent. Interested grantees must read the additional NHLBI guidance ( on the NHLBI ARRA website.

Q4.   Will the NHLBI’s ARRA funds be made available for any supplements to restore to IRG recommended levels recently funded awards that were reduced in budget and/or project period? If this is not the case, what are other options are available for addressing this budgetary constraint?
A4.   Administrative supplements with ARRA funds will not be available if the sole purpose is to reinstate administrative cuts. Other than ARRA funds, the only alternatives would be either to seek an administrative supplement from regularly appropriated funds or submit a new grant application for the activities that cannot be conducted with the current award. The NHLBI program official assigned to the grant can help answer questions.

Q5.   Is a grantee eligible for an administrative supplement if less than 12 months remain on the parent project?
A5.  If a project is under active funding (i.e., not under a No Cost Extension (NCE)) the grantee is eligible for an administrative supplement. The grantee must initiate a request for the first NCE according to the usual procedures.

Q6.   How many months of supplemental funding can be requested?
A6.   a. If 24 months or more of active funding remain on a parent grant, the grantee
            can request up to 24 months of supplemental funding.
        b. If less than 24 months of active funding remain on a parent grant, the grantee
            may request a supplement for up to 12 months beyond the end of the parent
            award period, up to 24 months of supplemental funding.

Q7.    Can an applicant who is eligible for 2-year funding under the expanded payline request an administrative supplement?
A7.   No. The parent project (i.e., the 2-year award) must be active when the supplement request is submitted.

Q8.   Can an applicant who received a fundable score on an application pending the June 2009 Council request an administrative supplement?
A8.   No. The parent project must be active when the supplement request is submitted.

Q9.   Is it possible to request more than one supplement per award?
A9.   Yes. However, a grantee may request only one supplement per award for each Notice or Program Announcement.

Q10.    Can the one FTE (full-time equivalent employee) per supplement be split between two people?
A10.    Yes. However, a compelling justification must be provided for all such requests.

Q11.    Why are only R01s and R21s eligible for administrative supplements with ARRA funds? Why are Program Project grants no longer eligible for administrative supplements with ARRA funds?
A11.    As the NHLBI has continued to review and assess its options for investing wisely the resources being made available to the Institute under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), we have realized that we will only be able to allocate a relatively small share of those resources to administrative supplements, which means that we will be making a limited number of Administrative Supplement awards.  By restricting the availability of supplements to R01s and R21s and announcing our intention to give priority to requests from principal investigators who qualified as Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators for their current awards, we believe that we will be not only focusing the opportunity upon individuals whose careers are at the formative stage but also saving large numbers of our grantees from what would be for many of them an unproductive expenditure of their time.

Q12.    Must a postdoctoral fellow hired on an ARRA-funded Administrative Supplement receive the NIH-specified stipend levels?
A12.    No. Anyone hired through ARRA-funded Administrative Supplements will be an employee of the institution, and will therefore not be subject to the NIH-specified stipend levels for appointees on NIH training grants.

Q13.    Must the new FTE be hired for the entire period of the supplement? For example, can the hiring of an FTE be delayed for 4 months in a 2-year supplement?
A13.    Although such a delay in hiring is possible, the NHLBI plans to restrict all “To Be Named” FTEs to no more than 90 days (the end of the first reporting period), and then restrict the award if no one is hired. Please note, however, that the NHLBI has made clear in its guidance on Administrative Supplements that it intends to give priority to requests that include the CV of a specific individual to be supported with ARRA funds.

Q14.    For an administrative supplement request, does the 5 page limit include references? Or does the 5 page limit apply only to the technical approach/research plan, not including references?
A14.    The 5 page limit does not include the references.

Q15.    Must the application include a biosketch if the new FTE is a postdoc?
A15.    While it is not necessary to include a biosketch, the NHLBI will give priority to requests that include the CV of a specific individual to be supported with the ARRA funded supplement.

Q16.    May an administrative supplement with ARRA funds be used to retain (continue funding) a current FTE?
A16.    Administrative supplement requests may only be used to support research employment opportunities for new FTEs (i.e., individuals who have not been previously supported on the parent grant).

Q17.    How are supplies defined?
A17.    Supplies are defined in accord with the appropriate cost principles for each grantee organization and its accounting system. Grantees are reminded that changes in the treatment of cost for the purposes of the ARRA funding or any other Federal funding are not permitted.

Last Updated September 4, 2009

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Steven Kelsen, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Salim Merali, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Biochemistry; Director of the Proteomics Core, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Karina Davidson, Ph.D.; The Herbert Irving Associate Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York Picture of Dr.Shuir with two other doctors Photo of Eric Schmidt Image of map; This map highlights a sampling of the NHLBI's support of its scientific community through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.