The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) distributes its resources among many diverse programs and mechanisms. The institute is committed to funding the largest number of meritorious projects possible, while allowing the flexibility needed to support selected program priorities and respond to emerging scientific opportunities.
When the President signs the NIH Appropriation, the funds for new and competing renewal research grant applications are allocated for the fiscal year. The institute establishes general guidelines for funding based on the allocation, allowing for necessary adjustments throughout the year to reflect directives from Congress and the NIH, as well as emerging program priorities.
For FY 2006, the following guidance applies to research project grant funds:
Adjustments to Requested Budget Levels
The NICHD does not make "across-the-board" budget cuts to grants it intends to fund. However, in compliance with NIH policies and in the interests of awarding as many grants as possible, adjustments are necessary, in part due to the following factors:
- A significant increase in the number of applications submitted
- A significant increase in the size of budget requests
- A large and growing commitment base for ongoing grants
- The NIH appropriation for FY 2006 includes an across-the-board reduction to non-emergency, discretionary programs, which has a direct impact on the NICHD budget.
New and Competing (Type 1) Research Project Grants (R01 & R21)
For all R01 and R21 awards up to $250,000 in direct costs, consideration is given to adjusting the level by approximately 17% of the direct costs recommended; for awards over $250,000, consideration is given to adjusting the level by approximately 22% of the direct costs recommended. Additional reductions may be negotiated with the Principal Investigator, based on factors such as research scope, other support, and program priorities.
The amounts provided for competing Research Project Grants (RPG) will be managed to an average award amount equal to FY 2005 levels. FY 2006 policy includes the provision of a 3% escalation factor in the amounts indicated for future years on competing, non-modular RPG awards. Modular grants do not receive a 3% escalation factor in future years. Additional information on modular applications and awards is posted at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.
Program Project (P01) Grants
For program project grants, the NICHD sets a baseline for new competing applications (Type 1) at approximately 20% below the recommended level of support. This baseline serves as a benchmark for negotiations regarding the level of support. Competing continuation (Type 2) applications are funded at a level not to exceed 10% above the last non-competing (Type 5) award.
Non-competing Continuation Grants (Type 5)
Early in the year, pending receipt of a FY 2006 budget, NICHD followed the established NIH guidelines: Type 5 awards for R01 grants were issued at a level of 80% of the commitment indicated in the previous Notice of Award. Based on the FY 2006 appropriation, non-competing awards for every RPG will be awarded at a level of 97.65% of the amount indicated for the FY2006 budget period in the Notice of Grant Award for the previous budget year. The amounts indicated for future budget periods will also be adjusted by the same factor. Non-competing awards previously issued in FY 2006 at reduced levels will be revised to provide a restoration of funds to the 97.65% level. Amounts indicated for future budget periods will be adjusted as well.
Fellowship (F), Training (T), and Career Development (K) awards will be awarded at the full 2006 commitment levels.
Other NICHD Funding Considerations
- The legislated salary limitation for grants applies to both competing and non-competing grants (see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-06-031.html). No additional NICHD funds are provided for the increase. Grantees may re-budget within the funds awarded to accommodate the new salary cap.
- Factors that may be considered in selecting which grants to pay include 1) scientific quality and importance in relation to the priorities of the Branch and the Institute; 2) supporting new investigators (especially those coming off NICHD-supported K or T grants); 3) keeping particularly important ongoing research funded; and 4) supporting important A2 applications that do not have the opportunity for resubmission.
- Per NIH policy, reductions of greater than 25% of the recommended direct costs require the applicant to submit revised specific aims and a revised budget.
Applications submitted by new investigators, with scores beyond the funding range, may be examined by NICHD for potential special funding consideration. Special consideration may include full funding of small grants or partial funding of larger grants to allow preparation and submission of revised applications for review.