2011 – A New Year Brings Changes in the Grants World

The US National Institutes of Health is ending their “error correction” window that has allowed submitters to make corrections to applications to address errors after the formal deadline. The “error correction window” was implemented by NIH as a temporary aide to facilitate migration from paper to electronic transmission. Now, several years later, the time has come for this temporary window to close. Key for a successful transition to this new landscape for institutions is to publicize the change and do everything possible to encourage and facilitate earlier submissions.

A key factor is to remind investigators that after an application is submitted to NIH, the proposal image soon becomes available for review on the Commons. That image is exactly what will progress into the review process. NIH passes submissions into review automatically after submission, however, users continue to have up to 48 hours post-submission – but before the 5:00 pm deadline – to review and re- submit applications with changes if the proposal image is not exactly as desired, even if it received no formal errors or warnings. NIH strongly encourages users to review the proposal image on the Commons and to take advantage of this option to submit changes. If you have questions about this option, feel free to contact Roger Wood, Product Manager at rwood@infoed.org, for more information.

In other NIH news, newly updated “B1” forms are being implemented. The first changes affect applications submitted for the January 25th training and fellowship grant deadline; other newly posted opportunities may require the new forms and all applications can be submitted using B1 forms now. All applications require the new B1 forms effective May 7th. The changed forms include updated training and fellowship supplemental pages as well as behind-the-scenes updates affecting the performance sites and other project information pages. Changes are largely invisible for InfoEd PD users, but adjustments are necessary in the XML package submitted to Grants.gov/NIH. InfoEd has incorporated updates in the recently announced 11/12.802.04 code release to accommodate the new “B1” forms.

A key goal for proposal product development is enhancing stability of PD and PT. The “B1” forms update mentioned above is a step in that direction. The dynamic S2S engine – the part of our code that builds the XML package and assembled document – was developed fresh and does not rely on pre-existing technology used for traditional NIH submissions. With the “B1” form changes, we have migrated NIH proposals to this new functionality as well. This is good news as it reduces the complexity of PD thereby enhancing stability. Designed to simplify and streamline the user interface, other significant complexity-reducing, and stability-enhancing, changes are coming in the version 13 release related to personnel and budgets in PD and PT. These will involve changes to the user interface and therefore will affect training materials and programs. The result will include consistent personnel and budget functionality between PD and PT, implementation of progressive text methodologies replacing the current alpha-split lists for many functions, and reducing budget complexity by consolidating budget methodologies from three to one, and F&A calculation methods from five to one, among other changes. To stay abreast of what is coming in these changes, make sure you have accounts on the ICAG forum and review posts in the PD and PT forums. Roger Wood, Product Manager, will begin posting plans and questions there for review and input soon.

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