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Changes to NIH and NSF Proposal and Award Guidelines

Both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have issued revised policy statements detailing changes that will be effective for proposals due on or after January 25, 2016. Please see below for agency-specific synopses and links to the full guide texts.

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 16-1) has been issued. The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. Significant changes include:

  • Enforcement of 5 p.m. submitter’s local time across all NSF funding opportunities;
  • Implementation of NSF’s Public Access Policy;
  • Submission of proposal certifications by the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) concurrently with proposal submission;
  • NSF’s implementation of the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences on Dual Use Research of Concern;
  • Provision of Collaborators and Other Affiliations information as a new single-copy document, instead of as part of the Biographical Sketch;
  • Submission of Biographical Sketches and Current and Pending Support separately for each senior personnel;
  • Electronic signature and submission of notifications and requests by the AOR only;
  • Revision of timeframe for submission of final project reports, project outcomes reports and financial closure of awards to 120 days after the award end date; and
  • Numerous clarifications throughout the document.
Given the number of important revisions, the community is strongly encouraged to review the by-chapter summary of changes provided in the Introduction section of the PAPPG.

The NIH has introduced a new application form set which is mandatory for proposals submitted for due dates between January 25, 2016 and May 24, 2016*. Before preparing proposals, applicants are encouraged to confirm which form set is required by the individual funding opportunity announcement to which they are responding. The form set requirement can be located in the "Competition ID" field of the SF424 (R&R) forms package. Applicants are reminded that all attachments must be in PDF format.

Application guides for all NIH form sets and FAQs about the 2016 form changes are available on the NIH Office of Extramural Research’s website.

* Applicants must use updated FORMS-D application forms and instructions for due dates on or after May 25, 2016 (NOT-OD-16-004). FORMS-D instructions will be posted by March 25, 2016.

Additionally, the NIH published a revised NIH Grants Policy Statement (NIHGPS, rev. 11/2015), which is applicable to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2015. This revision supersedes, in its entirety, the NIH Grants Policy Statement (03/2015) as a standard term and condition of award. Previous versions of the NIHGPS remain applicable as a standard term and condition for all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods that began prior to October 1, 2015. While this revision does not introduce any new material for the first time, it incorporates new and modified requirements, clarifies certain policies, and implements changes in statutes, regulations, and policies that have been implemented through appropriate legal and/or policy processes since the previous version of the NIHGPS dated 3/31/2015, including changes that impact:

  • Non-compliant proposal applications;
  • No-cost extensions;
  • Changes in scope;
  • Genomic Data Sharing;
  • requirements; and
  • Inventions and patents.

A document is available that summarizes the significant changes that are implemented with the November 2015 NIHGPS.