NIGMS Interim Funding Policy

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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 substantial number of investigators whose unamended, competing continuation research project grant (R01) applications are within 10 percentile points beyond the funding range receive support within a year of the time their grants lapse. At the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), this is the case for between 55 and 65 percent of those whose applications fall into this category.

Since October 1996, NIGMS has provided interim funding to some unfunded competing continuation R01 applications that fall within about 10 percentile points beyond the range in which NIGMS awarded grants during that review cycle (which culminates in a meeting of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council). The maximum level of funding will normally be one-third of the grant's current noncompeting direct costs for a 12-month period.

While we anticipate that most eligible applications will receive interim funding, the award may not be appropriate in every case. 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.

Some of the key administrative details of the interim funding policy are:

  • A project can receive interim funding only once during a competitive renewal period.

  • Interim funding will generally be provided for initial renewal applications, but not amended applications.

  • If NIGMS is subsequently able to award a competing continuation application, it may reduce the first year of funding to accommodate any balance remaining in the interim award.

NIGMS continues to 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 the Institute can continue to address the needs and concerns of the biomedical research community.