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Spring 2010, Issue 11

Major Changes to NIH and NSF Research Funding Requirements

NIH Changes to Submission Requirements

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has new application forms and instructions for both paper-based PHS 398 applications and electronic SF424 (R&R) applications. The new application forms and instructions must be used for all applications intended for due dates on or after January 25, 2010, including renewal submissions. Major changes include the following:

  • The Research Plan has been restructured and aligned with peer review criteria.
  • The Research Strategy section of R01 applications (and of several other funding opportunities) is now limited to 12 pages.
  • The Biographical Sketch now requires a Personal Statement, and limits the list of selected peer-reviewed publications to no more than 15 ( NIH sample biosketch).
  • Instructions for describing Resources have been modified to address the scientific environment and the institutional investment in Early Stage Investigators.
  • The error correction window has been temporarily extended from three days to five days for all electronic competing applications intended for due dates on and between January 25 and May 7, 2010.

Details of NIH changes can be found at


NIH and NSF Changes to Responsible Conduct of Research Requirements

Both NIH and NSF have implemented new training requirements in the responsible conduct of research (RCR).

NIH Responsible Conduct of Research Training Requirements

NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, or dissertation research grant receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research. This policy will take effect with all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011.

Many NIH-supported researchers meet RCR training requirements through courses offered by individual Tufts graduate programs. Individuals who are required to receive RCR training but who are not eligible to participate in a course in their department or program should contact the Office of the Vice Provost at ovp@tufts.edu for information on RCR training available through the OVP.

For more detailed information concerning NIH RCR requirements please go to

NSF Responsible Conduct of Research Training Requirements

Effective for applications submitted on or after January 4, 2010, the NSF requires that the proposing institution verify that the students and fellows who are supported by NSF funding receive training in the responsible conduct of research. NSF allows the institution to establish its own program. The Office of the Vice Provost is currently using an on-line program administered by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). The Tufts RCR training website is located at
http://viceprovost.tufts.edu/?pid=31. Upon completion of the course, a certificate is issued. Principal investigators should ensure that undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs on NSF grants complete the RCR training. PIs are required to retain copies of the course completion certificates, which are subject to audit.


New NSF Requirement for Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan

All NSF funding proposals that support postdoctoral researchers must include a postdoctoral researcher mentoring plan as a supplementary document of no more than one page. The plan should describe the mentoring activities provided to the postdocs. The NSF provides the following examples of mentoring activities: career counseling; training in preparation of grant proposals, publications, and presentations; guidance on ways to improve teaching and mentoring skills; guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas; and training in responsible professional practices. The proposed mentoring activities will be evaluated under the Foundation's broader impacts merit review criterion.


Staff members of the Office of Research Administration (ORA) are available to help researchers with the many research funding changes being implemented in 2010. We welcome researchers to call ORA staff assistant Elizabeth Brady at (617) 636-6550. You will be put in touch with a research administrator who will answer your question or schedule a time to talk with you. Contact information for specific staff members can be found at http://researchadmin.tufts.edu/?pid=3.

For more information on NIH changes to submissions, please go to http://researchadmin.tufts.edu.

For more information on NIH and NSF responsible conduct of research training, please go to http://viceprovost.tufts.edu/?pid=31.

For more information on the NSF postdoctoral researcher mentoring plan, please go to the NSF Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter II. C.2.j. Special Information and Supplementary Documentation.


Tufts University, Office of the Vice Provost
Health Sciences Campus: (617) 636-6550
Medford/Somerville Campus: (617) 627-3417
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