Skip to main content

NIH is implementing multiple changes that will impact the preparation and peer review of most grant applications submitted to NIH for due dates on or after January 25, 2025. Although each of these initiatives have specific goals, they are all meant to simplify, clarify, or ensure greater fairness.

We just released a guide notice (NOT-OD-24-084), what we are referring to as an “uber” notice, that provides an overview of each change to help the community contextualize them as details are released over the next few months. We developed this video (25 min) to provide you with an overview of the following changes:

Simplified review criteria for most research project grants. We announced this initiative this past October, held an informational webinar in November, and are also providing additional information on what this means for funding opportunities in a separate blog today, and in an upcoming April 17 webinar.

Revisions to the fellowship application and review process. You may remember the request for information NIH published last year. In the next few weeks, NIH will be releasing details of the resulting fellowship application and review changes that we are implementing. The changes are intended to: (1) better focus reviewer attention on the fellowship candidate’s preparedness and potential, the research training plan, and the sponsor/sponsoring institutional commitment to the candidate; (2) ensure a broad range of candidates and research training contexts can be recognized as meritorious; and (3) reduce bias in review by emphasizing the commitment to the candidate without undue consideration of sponsor and institutional reputation. NIH will be hosting a webinar to walk the community through the fellowship changes on September 19, 2024.

Updates to reference letter guidance. NIH is updating the instructions for reference letters to provide more structure for reviewers. Resulting letters will better assist reviewers in outlining the candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential to pursue a productive career in biomedical science. The updated instructions will be posted later this fall on the Reference Letter web page.

Updates to NRSA training grant applications. Later this spring NIH will publish an NIH Guide notice announcing changes to training grant applications that, at a high level, include:

  • Updating the NRSA Data Tables to reduce applicant and reviewer burden;
  • Including the Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research and the Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity as items that contribute to the overall impact score; and
  • Enhancing research training programs by further defining expectations for mentor training and clarifying positive outcomes related to preparing trainees for the breadth of research and related careers relevant to the NIH mission.

NIH will be hosting a webinar to walk the community through the training grant changes on June 5, 2024.

Updated application forms (FORMS-I). NIH will release updated application forms to support many of the changes coming in 2025. The new forms must be used for application due dates on or after January 25, 2025. Applications submitted for due dates prior to January 25 should continue to use FORMS-H. We encourage you to review the FORMS-I Guide Notice (NOT-OD-24-086) to learn more about the timing and availability of the new forms.

Common Forms for biographical sketch and current and pending (other) support. To be adopted in 2025 for all applications and Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs) submitted to NIH, the Common Forms represent a collaborative effort between Federal research agencies to ensure standard disclosure requirements as outlined in the National Security Presidential Memorandum – 33. In addition to providing greater standardization across federal agencies, the Common Forms provide clarity regarding disclosure requirements (e.g., who discloses what, relevant limitations and exclusions), disclosure process (e.g., updates, corrections, certification, and provision of supporting documentation), and expected degree of cross-agency uniformity (excerpt from Guidance for Implementing National Security Presidential Memorandum 33). We will be providing details on our implementation and timing in the next few months.

We recognize these are a lot of changes all at once. To help the community, we have developed a centralized webpage on Changes Coming in January 2025 that we will continue to update as details of each change and resources are developed and released. We will also be updating the “uber” notice with subsequent notices related to these changes.

We encourage you to learn more about these changes, and to take advantage of the many resources we are developing. We will be discussing changes here on Open Mike as details are released.