One of the consequences of today's highly competitive process of applying for grant support from the National Institutes of Health is that productive laboratories may experience lapses in funding and may lose valuable resources and highly trained staff, not to mention momentum in ongoing research. These losses are especially distressing in light of evidence that a significant number of investigators whose unamended, competing continuation research project grant (R01) applications are within 10 percentile points of the funding range receive support within a year of the time their grants lapse.
Since 1996, NIGMS has provided interim funding to some unfunded competing continuation R01 applications that fall within 10 percentile points of the range in which the Institute awarded grants during that review cycle (which culminates in a meeting of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council). The maximum level of funding typically has been one-third of the grant's current noncompeting direct costs for a 12-month period.
While we consider all eligible applications for interim funding, additional factors, such as an applicant's other support and the size of the current grant's unobligated balance, could lead NIGMS staff to decide not to offer interim funding. Comments in the summary statement, input by the advisory council, budgetary considerations and programmatic balance also bear on the selection of applications recommended for interim funding.
Some of the key administrative details of the interim funding policy are:
- A project can receive interim funding only once during a competing renewal period.
- Interim funding will be considered only for the initial renewal application. The grant must still be active or in a no-cost extension, not expired.
- If NIGMS is subsequently able to award a competing continuation application, the first year of funding may be reduced in time and amount to accommodate any balance remaining in the interim award.
We monitor the interim funding process closely to determine if it provides the desired benefit. We welcome your comments on this policy, as well as your suggestions for other ways in which NIGMS can continue to address the needs and concerns of the biomedical research community.