NSF and NIH News

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

January 24, 2020. Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (NSF 20-1), effective for all proposals due on or after June 1, 2020, is available. Please review the significant changes, especially the changes to the Biosketch and to the Current & Pending document.

December 9, 2019, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program for Submission in Years 2020 - 2025.

July 11, 2019: Dear Colleague Letter: Research Protection.

May 20, 2019: Effective Practices for Data. Open science can be further advanced by two data practices: (1) use of persistent IDs for research data, and (2) use of Data Management Plan (DMP) tools that create machine-readable DMPs. Penn State is affiliated with DMPTool.

January 28, 2019: 2019 NSF proposal and award guidelines, PAPPG, take effect. All proposals submitted to NSF must adhere to these guidelines through May 31, 2020.


National Institutes of Health (NIH)

February 5, 2020, Updated NIH Salary Cap.

February 4, 2020, Reminder of NIH Requirement to Adhere to the Revised Common Rule and Use a Single IRB for Multi-Site Studies.

January 24, 2020, Update of NIH Continuous Submission Policy: Change in Submission Deadlines and End of Recent Substantial Service Option, NOT-OD-20-060. NIH will no longer grant one-year continuous submission status to reviewers with recent substantial review service. This policy had unintended consequences, among them encouraging excessive review service and thus disproportionate influence by some.

  • Reviewers currently eligible for continuous submission will remain eligible through the end of their term on Sept. 30, 2020.
  • Reviewers who earn eligibility for continuous submission between Jan. 1, 2019 and Jun. 30, 2020 will be eligible from Aug. 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2021.
  • No reviewers will subsequently earn or be granted continuous submission eligibility for Recent Substantial Service.

January 8, 2020, How NIH Can Support Your Career Path. Thinking about a career in research or wondering how to become an independent researcher? These guides walk you through how NIH programs can support you at different career steps.

January 6, 2020, Need help determining if your research involves human subjects? NIH has updated its human subjects research decision tool.

January 6, 2020, Important Reminders for Fellowship and Career Development Applicants. ORCID iDs are required for PD/PIs on individual fellowship and career development applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2020.

December 9, 2019, Selecting the Correct NIH Budget Format for Your ApplicationWhen presented with budget format options, you need to carefully read the funding opportunity and application guide instructions and choose the budget format that matches your situation.

October 30, 2019, Penn State Clinical Research Guidebook. This clinical research guidebook was developed for faculty and staff members engaged in clinical research at Penn State, and it particularly offers guidance for clinical research not conducted at the College of Medicine.

October 2, 2019, When in Doubt, Reach Out. NIH encourages PIs to contact NIH staff!

August 5, 2019: Early Stage Investigator (ESI) Extension Request Process Moving to eRA Commons. Investigators can request an extension of their ESI eligibility at eRA Commons. For instructions, see the video ESI Status Extension Request.

July 25, 2019: Consolidated Notice on NIMH Clinical Trials Policies.

July 11, 2019: Clarifying Long-Standing NIH Policies on Disclosing Other Support. See also: Reminders of NIH Policies on Other Support and on Policies related to Financial Conflicts of Interest and Foreign Components.

June 28, 2019: Project Summary/Abstract and Project Narrative: What’s the Difference and What to Include.

May 13, 2019: The Do’s & Don’ts of Hyperlinks in Grant Applications.

March 29, 2019: For Clinical Trials, NIH Releases Protocol Template for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Involving Humans (NOT-OD-19-092)

March 25, 2019: Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children. Applicants should include rationale for age range of participants and justification for age-based exclusion in this document (Section 2.4). The document will continue to have the heading “Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children” until the next forms update. See instructions under Inclusion of Children in the application guide. Questions on the Inclusion Across the Lifespan policy? Check out its FAQ page

February 15, 2019: Update to the NIH/AHRQ/NIOSH Policy on Post-Submission Materials.

January 25, 2019: New Protection of Human Subjects website. Here you can find useful information about proposing research involving human subjects.

December 19, 2018: Revision: NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Individuals Across the Lifespan as Participants in Research Involving Human Subjects

December 7, 2018 and November 26, 2018: Update to General Application Guide.

November 27, 2018: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees and Other Budgetary Levels Effective for Fiscal Year 2019

July 3, 2018: The NCATS Trial Innovation Network – A Resource Supporting High Quality and Cost Effective Clinical Trials Available to You”

Human Subject Research Changes at NIH Effective since January 25, 2018:

New PHS Human Subject and Clinical Trial Information form (pdf example with annotations).

Some NIH Institutes no longer accept parent announcements for clinical trials and announce their own solicitations. Be sure to check the announcement for your target institute.

Answer these four questions about your current or proposed research:

1)    Does the study involve human participants?

2)    Are the participants prospectively assigned to an intervention?

3)    Is the study designed to evaluate the effect of the intervention on the participants?

4)    Is the effect that will be evaluated a health-related biomedical or behavioral outcome?

If the answer to all four questions is Yes, then your proposed research meets the NIH definition of a clinical trial. The definition encompasses a wide range of trial types: mechanistic, exploratory/developmental, pilot/feasibility, behavioral, and more.

After reading information on the NIH website and walking through the decision tree, for further advice contact your NIH program official or the scientific point of contact listed on the funding opportunity announcement to which you are applying.

The Penn State IRB office will assist in your determination and would prefer to be involved early in the submission planning process, especially if your proposal includes a clinical trial or a Single IRB (SIRB).

Familiarize yourself with NIH policy changes related to enhancing stewardship of clinical trials.

NIH has made a number of policy changes to improve the stewardship of clinical trials across the life cycle of the trial. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with all that is changing, including:

  • The requirement to apply to an FOA that specifically allows for the submission of clinical trial applications.
  • Good Clinical Practice training expectations for NIH staff, grantees, and contractors effective January 2017.
  • Use of a single IRB for non-exempt, multi-site clinical trials for application due dates on/after January 25, 2018.
  • Expanded ClinicalTrials.gov registration and reporting to include all NIH supported clinical trials.

January 12, 2018: Updated Appendix Policy.

March 24, 2017: Citing interim research products in applications, proposals and reports

March 2, 2017: Update and Clarification: NIH Continuous Submission Policy

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