Major change to NIH grant policy

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Full Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
Reaction score

Members don't see this ad.
Assume most have heard by now, but NIH just announced that grants that after grants have been resubmitted the first time (revision) and denied can now be submitted again as a new application - so basically you get an unlimited number of tries to get something funded but it is treated as a "new" submission every other cycle. In the past you couldn't resubmit the same grant without substantially altering the project/aims.

I'm curious what others think about this? On one level, I think its better for science - many things VERY close to the payline that might have missed being funded just because of one reviewer who tended to use the middle of the response scale now have the potential to get a second (third, fourth, fifth) chance. So many projects that should get funded do not for relatively arbitrary reasons and this offers a glimmer of hope.

That said, I think this is a horrible idea that will have catastrophic consequences. I imagine most people will be continuously submitting every study repeatedly until it gets funded because there aren't any incentives NOT to do so if you don't have to change the application. So much seems to depend on the dice-roll of what reviewers you get and not the merit of the application that folks with just resubmit continuously and hope for different reviewers. In addition to an enormous increase in applications (and likely decrease in the amount of attention each application gets) I suspect we'll also see a HUGE drop in paylines as the number of applications triples as every senior faculty member submits 30+ years of failed applications each cycle and hopes to win the research lottery. Basically its just going to produce a mess that I'm not confident will end up benefitting anyone in the long-term.

Were it me, I might implement this but also limit investigators to say, 3 new submissions allowed per calendar year (or pick another number - that's a detail that could get worked out). Thus people are at least encouraged to be judicious in what they submit. A part of me is also wondering if this is a deliberate ploy to sabotage the system in order to push for a budget increase, but I don't know if I'm that much of a conspiracy theorist.

Either way, this has me terrified to be forging out on my own in the next couple years at a time when my one NIH grant might go into a pool where a bunch of senior investigators can submit 10 grants apiece and only a handful can be funded...odds don't seem too good for junior folks unless some kind of change is made akin to what I suggested above about limiting the number of submissions.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2010
Reaction score
I'm biased, as I just scored above the payline on my F31 resubmission... but I don't think it's awful. I don't think the nsf has a resubmission limit, and unlimited resubmissions was nih policy for a long time. In the end, the funding situation sucks any way you dice it, and I don't think anything is going to substantially change the chances of getting a grant, especially as a new investigator, except for just providing more money.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk