National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health
February 9, 2016
Available Funding and Operating Guidelines
The NHLBI FY2016 Funding and Operating Guidelines apply to all awards made in FY2016. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) will continue to apply National Institutes of Health (NIH) cost management guidelines when making fiscal year 2016 grant awards (NOT-OD-15-050). Funds will be restored as appropriate for FY2016 awards previously made at the 90% provisional amount. Any competing application reviewed in FY16 and considered for funding in FY17 will be funded according to the policies and guidelines for FY17.
The NHLBI funding strategy for competing applications will use one of two methods detailed below, depending upon the specific grant mechanism:
- a payline with selective pay
- a zone of consideration
The currently available funding strategy information for NHLBI competing awards are displayed in the tables below. The NHLBI will continue to update its funding strategy for FY2016, as necessary and as additional information becomes available. Applicants are advised to use information presented here, in conjunction with information available in their organizational eCommons accounts, to determine the probability of funding.
Payline with Selective Pay
When a payline is specified, all applications equal to or less than the percentile (or priority score if there is no percentile) will be funded, in compliance with NIH and NHLBI policies and NHLBAC recommendations. Depending on the availability of funds, the Institute will make funding decisions on competing applications above the payline, through selective pay actions. The table below details the paylines for relevant grant programs.
|Grant Program Description||Percentile||
Research Project Grant
Early Stage Investigators
Career Development Awards
Pre and Post-doctoral NRSA
Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA)
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants (Phase I)
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants (Phase II)
^Summary Statement issues must be satisfactorily resolved on applications >19 percentile.
Zone of Consideration
A zone of consideration is a range of priority scores within which competing applications will be considered for funding. The table below details the range of priority scores per relevant grant program.
ZONE OF CONSIDERATION
|Grant Program Description||
Zone of Consideration
(Priority Score Range)
|Innovative Research Grants||10 - 33|
|Program Project Grant||10 - 30|
|Institutional NRSA Training||10 - 40|
|Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants||10 - 40|
Criteria for Selective Pay and Zone of Consideration
Final award decisions related to selective pay and zones of consideration will be based on a variety of criteria relevant to scientific merit, program balance, and NHLBI strategic priorities including:
- Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project, as determined by scientific peer review
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council recommendations
- Relevance to the NHLBI mission
- Applicability to NHLBI’s strategic research priorities (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/sites/www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/020316DSRPPublicCommentVersion-FINALB.pdf)
- Overall programmatic portfolio balance and need (e.g., newly identified scientific gaps and needs, new areas of interest to the NHLBI, poorly represented areas in Institute’s portfolio, level of overlap with existing programs, etc.)
- Development and diversity of biomedical workforce (e.g., investigator’s career stage, etc.)
- Potential for high scientific or public health impact (e.g., highly innovative research, research relevant to special populations that are understudied [women, minorities, pediatric populations, patients with rare diseases], etc.)
Future Year Commitments on FY 2016 New and Competing Renewal Awards:
As in recent fiscal years (see NOT-OD-13-064), inflationary increases for future year commitments are no longer provided for all competing and non-competing research grant awards issued by the NHLBI. However, adjustments for special needs (such as equipment and added personnel) continue to be accommodated whenever possible.
Duration of Research Project Grants
The NHLBI will fund investigator-initiated R01 competing applications, regardless of percentile or priority score, for four years or less. The only exceptions to this policy are awards made to Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) and clinical trials with patient accrual and follow-up timelines that cannot be accomplished within four years. These excepted applications will generally be awarded for the full length of their National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC) recommended project periods.
Fostering the success of Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) who are establishing careers in biomedical research is a high priority of the NHLBI and NIH, and the NHLBI will continue its commitment to ESIs in accordance with NIH guidelines as articulated in the NIH Guide (see NOT-OD-09-013). The NHLBI commitment to ESIs is reflected in the special consideration given in both funding priority and period of support. Funding advantage is given to ESI applications from Principal Investigators who maintain New Investigator (NI) status when a funding decision is made.
The NHLBI routinely considers funding ESI applications that score outside of the normal funding range by maintaining a separate payline for competing, investigator-initiated ESI R01 applications. In FY 2016, the payline for these applications will be 5 percentile points above the regular R01 payline. In addition, competing, investigator-initiated ESI R01 applications that have percentile scores greater than 5 and less than or equal to 10 percentile points above the regular R01 payline may undergo an expedited program review to resolve comments in the summary statement. Further, all awards to ESI applicants that are included under that policy will be funded for all years recommended by the NHLBAC.
Note regarding NHLBI policy on ESI application resubmission post ESI eligibility status: For investigators whose ESI eligibility window expires between the new (A0) application submission and the resubmission (A1), NIH limits the ESI-eligible status to 13 months after the submission date of the original application (please see FAQ 7). In contrast, the NHLBI will honor ESI special funding consideration for these resubmission applications for the entirety of the resubmission window (37 months). In other words, as long as an ESI submits the original application and maintains NIH New Investigator Status, the resubmission (A1) of these applications is eligible for NHLBI ESI special funding consideration.
Note regarding applications with Multiple PIs: To be eligible for the ESI funding advantage, all PIs on multiple-PI applications must be ESIs with New Investigator status when a funding decision is made.
First Competing Renewals of Awarded NHLBI Early Stage Investigator Applications
The NHLBI appreciates that the first competing renewal applications of awarded ESI applications are submitted during a critical period in investigators’ careers. In order to extend timely support for the next generation of heart, lung, blood, and sleep researchers, the NHLBI maintains a separate payline of 5 percentile points above the regular R01 payline for investigator-initiated first competing renewal (Type 2) applications that meet all of the following criteria:
- the initial (Type 1) application was funded as an NHLBI ESI application
- the individual is not a principal investigator on an Independent Scientist (K02) or other non-mentored career award, on another R01, or on any other “major award” mechanism that disqualifies one from being considered an NIH New Investigator (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/index.htm#earlystage)
- the individual must be currently holding a position at a domestic institution with a faculty rank up to and including an Associate Professor or equivalent
- the original submission (A0) of the Type 2 application is submitted for a receipt date no later than seven years beyond the project start date
Note: This is a special NHLBI program, therefore the competing renewal applications will not be flagged by the NIH grant system. Rather, NHLBI staff will identify applications eligible for special funding consideration under this Program.
NHLBI Interim Funding Using the R56 (High Priority, Short-Term Project) Award
Pending the availability of funds, the NHLBI may use the R56 grant mechanism, sometimes called "Bridge Award," to provide limited, interim research support to competing R01 applications requesting less than $500K in direct costs per year. Eligible investigators cannot have substantial funding support from within or outside the NIH beyond the current fiscal year. Further, applications with administrative issues that preclude timely award are ineligible for this program. NHLBI participation in the R56 mechanism was published in the NIH Guide (see NOT-HL-13-188). Please note that investigators cannot apply for R56 awards.
The ultimate goal of the award is to provide interim, one-year support for investigators to collect preliminary data in support of a resubmission or a new NIH R01 application.
The NHLBI will use the following guidelines for funding RPGs:
The FY2016 salary cap for individuals under an NIH grant or cooperative agreement is established by statute at $185,100 effective January 10, 2016 (NOT-OD-16-045).
New (Type 1) Research Project Grants
The NHLBI policy for new grants is to award them at the NHLBAC recommended level except for specific programmatic and administrative adjustments. Applications that do not exceed $250,000 direct costs in any given year of support in the recommended competitive segment are generally awarded under the modular concept. Applications requesting direct costs that exceed $250,000 in any year of support in the recommended competitive segment will be awarded with categorical budgets.
Competing Renewal (Type 2) Research Project
The NHLBI policy for competing renewal applications that will be awarded in FY 2016 differs depending upon the nature of the award in the preceding competitive segment and the likely form of the award for a competitive renewal. Please note that if a proposed award would result in a reduction greater than 25 percent from the requested amount in the application, NHLBI program staff will contact the PI and the applicant institution before an award is issued to obtain either a statement that the approved aims and objectives can be accomplished within the proposed level of support, or a revised statement of aims and revised budget for the proposed level of support.
Program Project Grants (Type 1 and Type 2)
Type 1: Direct costs will be awarded at the recommended level or $1,515,000, whichever is less. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs associated with first tier subcontracts are not included in the direct cost ceiling. No annual increases for recurring costs in non-competing years are allowed.
Type 2: Direct costs (excluding first tier subcontract F&A costs) awarded will not exceed the direct costs (excluding first tier subcontract F&A costs) for the last noncompetitive segment. As with new awards, no annual increases for recurring costs are allowed.
Categorical to Categorical
For competing renewal and MERIT extension grants that were categorical awards in the preceding competitive segment and will be in excess of $250,000 direct costs in any given year of the recommended competitive segment, the NHLBI will award at the NHLBAC recommended direct cost up to a maximum of three percent above the level of the last non-competing award of the preceding competitive segment, except for specific programmatic and administrative adjustments that may be warranted. The maximum may be exceeded to accommodate non-recurring equipment costs. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs for first tier consortia are not considered in the direct cost base when calculating the maximum that can be requested.
Modular to Modular
For competing renewals that were modular awards in the preceding competitive segment and will be no more than $250,000 direct costs in any given year of the recommended competitive segment, the NHLBI will award at the NHLBAC recommended direct cost amount, if appropriations allow. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs for first tier consortia are not considered in the direct cost base when calculating the maximum that can be requested.
Modular to Categorical
If the previous award is 10 modules, a requested increase will cause the competing renewal to be awarded as categorical. In all such cases, the NHLBI will award at the NHLBAC recommended direct cost up to a maximum of 3 percent above the level of the last non-competing award of the preceding competitive segment. The maximum may only be exceeded to accommodate specific programmatic and administrative adjustments that may be warranted or for non-recurring equipment costs. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs for first tier consortia are not considered in the direct cost base when calculating the maximum that can be requested.
Continuation Awards (Type 5 Noncompeting Renewal)
The NHLBI will award Type 5 grants in accordance with the NIH Fiscal Policy for FY2016. Awards previously issued will be revised in accordance with this policy.
Last Updated: February 9, 2016