Disclaimer: The information on this page is meant to provide general guidance. Policies and procedures outlined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement take precedence over any information provided on this page and should be referred to for complete and comprehensive guidance.
- Notice of Award
- Research Performance Progress Report
- Project or Budget Changes
- High-Risk, High-Reward Research Symposium
The Notice of Award (NoA) provides information on the project's start and end dates, terms and conditions of award, and how much money will be received for current and future years. A NoA is issued for every budget period of the award (meaning every year).
- Increase or decrease of funds
- Lifting of a restriction
- Change in budget period
- Carryover or offset
All applications are received as Office of the Director applications. The Office of the Director funds the majority of awards, but other NIH institutes and center are invited to fund applications they deem meritorious. Because the Early Independence Award is still considered experimental, regardless of who funds the application, all applications selected for funding remain Office of the Director awards with Dr. Becky Miller as the official program officer. However, the most scientifically relevant NIH institute or center (as determined by the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program working group) select an "affiliated" program officer from that institute or center to provide additional guidance for the awardee. Awardees are strongly encouraged to get to know their "affiliated" program officers. They have in-depth knowledge of the science being conducted and can:
- Provide advice on research and funding strategies
- Help navigate NIH and institute/center administrative channels
- Provide career advice
"Affiliated" program officers are asked for their assessment on awardees' annual reports, invited to attend the awardee site visit, and encouraged to attend the annual High-Risk, High-Reward Research Symposium.
NIH requires grantees to submit annual Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) through eRA Commons to receive funds for the next project period year. The progress report must be approved by NIH to fund each budget period. Late progress reports will delay awards until all reporting elements are complete.
The RPPR asks grantees about accomplishments towards the goal of the project, plans for the next year of the project, manuscripts and publications produced, personnel who have worked on the project, changes to level of effort of key personnel on the project, actual or planned challenges or delays in the projects and plans for resolving them, significant changes regarding human or animal subjects, inclusion enrollment reports for clinical studies, and more.
The program officer reviews each progress report to determine whether funding for the project will continue, and the grants management specialist evaluates the grant's administrative and fiscal status. Both must approve a progress report before an award can be issued.
There may be times when adjustments are needed to your project or budget. Some of the adjustments can be made by the grantee without NIH approval due to “expanded authorities” laws, which gives greater autonomy and flexibility to grantees.
Without NIH approval, you can:
- Extend a project period for up to 12 months without additional funds (called a no-cost extension).
- Carry over unobligated balances from one budget period to the next.
- Transfer work to a third party through a consortium agreement, contract, or other means, as long as you retain a substantive role in the research.
- Make cost-related changes, including rebudgeting of funds, as long as the scope of the research remains the same.
- Spend money up to 90 days before the grant's start date with your institution's permission.
Actions that require NIH preapproval include:
- Taking an action that changes the scope of the approved research.
- Reducing PD/PI effort by 25 percent or more.
- Changing the grantee organization.
- Taking a second no-cost extension of a final budget period.
- Changing the award terms and conditions, or undertaking any activities disapproved or restricted as a term of award.
- Adding, removing, or transferring a foreign subaward or foreign site.
The request must be endorsed by your Authorized Organization Representative and sent to the grants management specialist at least 30 days before your proposed change. Contact your grants management specialist with questions on preapprovals.
If you wish to change institutions, you must ask the awarded institution to relinquish the award to your new one. The new institution must be a U.S. domestic institution capable of supporting the research and must fulfill all the requirements in the funding opportunity announcement.
Your new institution must submit a new application in response to the Change of Grantee Organization (Type 7 Parent) announcement. NIH staff will review the application to ensure all the requirements in the funding opportunity announcement are met.
For more information, see:
- NIH Change of Institutions/Relinquishing Statements FAQs
- Section 8 of the NIH Grants Policy Statement
If your institution does not agree to transfer your grant or the new institution cannot meet all the requirements in the funding opportunity announcement, the grant must be terminated.
There may be times when your research plans need adjustment because of a new research path or a dead end. Talk with your program officer about whether it makes sense to modify your research. You will need approval from your grants management specialist to change the scope of your research.
Actions that may change the scope of your research include:
- Changing the Specific Aims
- Shifting the research emphasis from one disease area to another
- Changing any aspects of research involving animals or human subjects
- Using a new technology
- Purchasing equipment that costs more than $25,000
- Rebudgeting funds in or out of a budget category by more than 25 percent of the total costs of the award
For a list of all actions that constitute a change in scope, see Section 8 of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
The High-Risk, High-Reward Research Symposium is held annually in June in Bethesda, MD. The symposium brings together recipients of the NIH Director's Pioneer, New Innovator, Transformative Research, and Early Independence awards to share their groundbreaking research and discoveries. The symposium is free and open to the public. Symposium attendees enjoy:
- Scientific talks and posters from High-Risk, High-Reward Research program awardees
- Networking with some of the most creative scientists in the U.S.
- Scheduled one-on-one meetings with NIH staff during "Office Hours"
High-Risk, High-Reward Research award recipients are strongly encouraged to attend the symposium annually. Awardee lab members, NIH staff and fellows, and members of the general public are also welcome to attend.
More questions? Contact us at EarlyIndependence@od.nih.gov.
This page last reviewed on August 9, 2021