Archive for the ‘nih furlough’ Tag

NIH Releases Info For Grantees on Government Shutdown

As expected, with no Congressional agreement on FY14 funding, and with too much Obamacare-related animosity for Congress even to agree to a temporary bill to fund at FY13 levels, the US federal government shut down at midnight last night. This morning the NIH released a notice to grantees concerning the government shutdown. Highlights include the following:

SUBMISSION OF GRANT APPLICATIONS: For the duration of the funding lapse, applicants are strongly encouraged not to submit paper or electronic grant applications to NIH during the period of the lapse.  Adjustments to application submission dates that occur during the funding lapse will be announced once operations resume.  For any applications submitted immediately prior to or during the funding lapse, here is what will happen.

  1. For electronic submissions through will be open and can accept electronic applications.  However, applications will not be processed by NIH until the eRA Systems are back on-line.  NIH will ensure that all applications submitted within the two business days before or during the funding lapse will receive the full viewing window once the systems are back on-line.
  2. For electronic submission of multi-project applications through NIH’s ASSIST system: The ASISST system will not be available until NIH systems are back on-line.
  3. Paper Submissions: Staff will not be available to receive paper applications during a funding lapse.

The safest course is to wait to submit any application to NIH until after operations resume and a Notice in the NIH Guide concerning adjusted submission dates is posted.

CONTACT WITH NIH STAFF: For the duration of the funding lapse, NIH extramural employees will be prohibited from working (remotely or in the office).

PEER REVIEW AND COUNCIL MEETINGS: For the duration of the funding lapse, the NIH will not be able to conduct initial peer review meetings – whether in-person or through teleconferences or other electronic media. Also during this time, the NIH staff will not be able to send or receive email messages, or update website information, and NIH computer systems that support review functions will not be operational.

CURRENTLY ACTIVE GRANT AWARDS:  For the duration of the funding lapse, all work and activities performed under currently active NIH grant awards may continue.  However, see Notice for limits on performing many of the reporting requirements associated with NIH grant funding.


With No Agreement on FY14 Budget, A Government Shutdown Looms…

Here we go again folks.  Fiscal year 2014 begins at midnight and once again there is no budget agreement. Normally when this happens, Congress votes to temporarily continue operating the federal budget at the levels from the previous fiscal year, as they continue to duke it out over funding issues. But this year, Obamacare has stirred up so much bipartisan animosity that a shutdown appears increasingly likely.


As I have written previously, I know only too well what happens during a government shutdown, as it happened in my first month of being a federal employee many years ago. All non-essential federal employees are furloughed. They may not work or travel for work, therefore all imminent trips planned by federal employees must be canceled. At NIH, the clinical center continues to operate and, for better or worse, we can still submit those R01s for the October 5 deadline. However, NSF has issued an announcement that while may be operational,  “FastLane proposal preparation and submission will be unavailable”.

And while NIH will be accepting those Oct 5 new R01 submissions, no doubt we can look forward to hideous delays in funding decisions in the upcoming months. Read more in an article posted this afternoon, on the eve of a likely government shutdown, from Science Insider.


Significant Budget Cuts Imminent For the National Institutes of Health

Guest Blog by Luke Bouvier, PhD

In a notice issued a few days ago on February 21, the NIH released some additional details about its contingency plans if sequestration goes into effect this Friday, March 1, as scheduled.  In order to hit the mandated 5.1% budget cut, the NIH “likely will reduce the final FY 2013 funding levels of non-competing continuation grants and expects to make fewer competing awards.”  Non-competing continuation awards, which have generally been funded this year at 90% of the previous commitment level because of the ongoing budget uncertainty, may see some restoration above the current level “but likely will not reach the full FY 2013 commitment level described in the Notice of Award.”  The NIH also confirmed that in the event of the budget sequester, each of the 27 NIH Institutes and Centers will detail its own approach to meeting the reduced budget level.

Science likewise reported that a press conference held at the NIH last week confirmed the bleak budget outlook.  NIH Director Francis Collins and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) warned that the coming sequester cut of $1.57 billion to the NIH’s $31 billion budget would “slow scientific progress, delay clinical trials, and put a generation of young researchers at risk.”  Collins reported that “everything will take a hit,” though Institute directors will be able to use their discretion in allocating cuts among programs such as single-investigator grants, centers, and intramural research.  Referring to NIH staff and intramural researchers, Collins added that “we will do everything we can to try not to furlough or to lay off employees.”  Nobel Prize winner Carol Greider, chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University, also appeared at the press conference and lamented that the looming cuts could reduce NIH’s grant success rate from an already-low 17-18% down to 15%, which would translate to a reduction of grants in the hundreds, forcing cutbacks in biomedical labs throughout the country.  Collins confirmed that many high-scoring grant proposals have not received any funding yet at all because of the lack of budgetary clarity, adding that “some of that science is being held up as we try to figure out what resources we actually have in fiscal year ’13.”  Though few observers now believe that the sequester cuts can still be averted by March 1, Senator Mikulski, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, hopes that the NIH cuts will eventually be remedied in a budgetary deal to fund the federal government through the remainder of the current fiscal year.  That deal would have to be reached before the current Continuing Resolution expires on March 27, or else a government shutdown could result.

Posted February 25, 2013 by Meg Bouvier in Biomedical research, medical grant writing, medical policy writing, NIH grantwriting

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