Tips for Requesting Recovery Act Administrative Supplements

Recovery.gov - NIGMS InformationAs you may well expect, we’ve had a vigorous response so far from grantees inquiring about submitting requests for the Recovery Act administrative supplements funding opportunity.

We think we’ve set up a pretty good system to expeditiously process requests—once they are complete.

If you’re thinking about submitting a request, you should know:

1. A complete package on the first submission makes everyone’s life easier, and

2. We have our own NIGMS-specific requirements.

Our experience to date is that submissions need to be clearer about:

1. How the proposed activities fall within the current aims (i.e., are not a change in scope), and

2. The money stuff—other current and pending support, including Recovery Act requests; current status of funds and expenditure plans.

We also need a brief (25-word) summary of the proposed activity that indicates its public health relevance, as appropriate. HHS intends to post this text on its Recovery Act Web site Exit icon. Some examples are in our guidance document.

I get many questions about whether there is a deadline for administrative supplement requests. We need your submissions by July 15, 2009 for FY2009 funding consideration. Please don’t wait until the last minute to send us your materials. Getting them in early is in everyone’s interest.

60 comments on “Tips for Requesting Recovery Act Administrative Supplements

  1. When does the 2yr grant period begin for the supplement? Is it 2008-2009, 2009-2010? Or 2009-2010, 2010-1011? If it is 2008-2009, are we considered being in the first year of the grant now (i.e. 2009).

    Lastly, when we submit the grant proposal by July 2009, does that mean we can presumably use the funds only for the 2009-2010 year (which will mean we have the grant for one year)?

    • Thanks for your question about supplement timing. We work hard to review and process supplement requests as quickly as possible, but of course, a heavy volume can slow us down.

      If your request is funded, you can find the start date of the supplement period on your notice of award, which is in the eRA Commons.

      The length of a supplement award (and thus the time period over which the funds can be used) varies based on the amount of time remaining on the parent grant:

      bullet If the parent grant currently has more than 24 months remaining in the project period, it could receive a supplement for 24 months of support.

      bullet If the parent grant currently has fewer than 24 months remaining in the project period, the length of the supplement probably will be for the amount of time left on the parent grant.

      NIH has posted answers to some supplement timing questions at http://grants.nih.gov/recovery/faqs_recovery.html#IV. I’ve also pasted them below.

      1. My grant only has 6 months left in the final year. Can I request a no-cost extension for 18 months so that I’m eligible for the 24-month administrative supplement?

      No. Not all administrative supplements will be 24-month awards. While the availability of the ARRA funding is for 2 years, actual awards will be consistent with the time remaining in a particular project period; not to exceed 24 months. For grants already in their final year, grantees should be mindful of the available time remaining when preparing such requests.

      The NIH Guide Notice on ARRA Administrative Supplements (NOT-OD-09-056) implies that a grantee doesn’t need to have the extension in place at the time the request is submitted.

      2. What should grantees do in the situation when the grant expires 8/31/2009, we know we will extend the grant, but can’t do so in the Commons until June 1, 2009 (after the submission date for Administrative Supplements)?

      In this case, the grantee could include information about their plans to extend the grant as part of the ARRA Administrative Supplement application. The Administrative Supplement request can then cover the entire time, including the expected extension. However, the grantee will still need to use the eRA Commons feature to execute the no-cost extension when appropriate. The NIH IC will not process the request for the grantee.

      3. For my grant, the no-cost extension possibility isn’t “imminent”; my final year was just awarded in February 2009 with a final budget period of 3/1/2009 – 2/28/2010). Can I still include plans to extend the grant next year in my ARRA Administrative Supplement Request?

      Technically yes.  However, caution should be exercised when planning a no-cost extension for a grant that won’t expire until next fiscal year. A lot can happen in that timeframe, including the successful competition of a renewal application. In this case, the more prudent approach might be to submit the Administrative Supplement request reflecting the known period remaining; without any expected extension. In cases where it is unknown how much additional time will be needed to complete the approved and funded scope, the grantee will still be responsible for executing the no-cost extension next fiscal year through the eRA Commons.

  2. Hi, thanks for this forum.

    My current award is in the No Cost Extension stage, expiring March 31, 2010.

    I have a renewal application in for review this May. Should I confine any request to the time period between now and the first moment available funds from a renewal would be approved? or request funds until the end of the NCE period, March 31?

    • We would award a supplement to your active grant, not a possible future renewal. Therefore, your supplement request should go through March 31, 2010.

  3. I am still confused about the funding period. My group has a P50 grant that expires on 8/31/2010. If we apply for an administrative supplement before July 2009, should we apply for funding for FY 2009 (ending on Sept 30, 2009) and FY2010 (ending on Sept 31, 2010)? If funding is for FY2011 instead (ending Sept 2011), then we would need a no cost extension (which we are planning to submit anyway when the time gets closer).

    Thanks

  4. What are the maximum dollar amounts that it is reasonable to request? The announcement states “NIH expects to award supplements of not more than 50% of the amount of the parent grant.” I am not sure what this means. If I have 4 years of a grant remaining and each year is funded at at $250K direct costs, is a target for the administrative supplement of half the total ie $500K reasonable– or is it rather $125K per year or a total of $250K for the two year request that is the maximum target?
    Thanks so much for the question and answer forum!

  5. More on maximum dollar amounts. I understand that that equipment costing under $100K is eligible. Must the total equipment budget for each year be under $100K or just each individual piece of equipment? Or is the total equipment purchase over two years limited to $100K?
    Thanks!

  6. Do we need to supply an update of active or pending “other support” for the PI only or for all key personnel on the parent grant?

    • Do we need to supply an update of active or pending “other support” for the PI only or for all key personnel on the parent grant?

      You need to submit an update on support for all key personnel.

  7. Hi Paul,

    I have questions about format of the submission.
    Does the NIGMS-specific 25-word summary go into the 5-page project description, or does it go in the Project Summary form page2; (usually 1/2 page long) in PHS398?

    Also, I asusme the specific statements about the “money thing” and “IRG scope” you mentioned above are to go in the 5 page document as well.
    Just want to be sure that is correct.

    Thanks

    • I have questions about format of the submission. Does the NIGMS-specific 25-word summary go into the 5-page project description, or does it go in the Project Summary form page2; (usually 1/2 page long) in PHS398?

      If you are using the PHS form 398, then please do put the 25-word summary in the “Relevance” field. If you are using a simple narrative (letter), there really isn’t a prescribed format for where it goes, but it is most helpful to us if you: 1) set it off with a header that clearly identifies it as the public health relevance statement; and 2) place it at the beginning.

      Also, I asusme the specific statements about the “money thing” and “IRG scope” you mentioned above are to go in the 5 page document as well.

      Yes, the other statements should go in the 5 pages.

  8. My project would benefit from a new live imaging system (about $120,000)
    and a student position for the next two years (about $30K per year). Are these amounts within the guidelines ?
    What are the guidelines on funding levels for GM supplements to ROI ? They are not so clearly stated as by other institutes.
    thanks

  9. On the NOT-OD-09-056 website, it says that there is no limit to the number of administrative supplements requests that may be submitted. However my program officer tells me that it is unlikely that NIGMS will fund more than one per investigator. Shouldn’t this information be posted on the NIGMS admin rules page so people do not expend a great deal of effort preparing multiple submissions? Something to the effect that “There is no limit to the number of requests that can be submitted however requests will be prioritized and multiple requests may receive a lower priority.”

    • My program officer tells me that it is unlikely that NIGMS will fund more than one per investigator. Shouldn’t this information be posted on the NIGMS admin rules page so people do not expend a great deal of effort preparing multiple submissions?

      Thanks for your suggestion. We have added a new question and answer on this topic to our Recovery Act FAQs .

  10. I am using the PHS form 398. Should the 5-page project description be attached?
    How should I format the project description.

    • I am using the PHS form 398. Should the 5-page project description be attached?

      Because administrative supplements are not submitted through Grants.gov, there is great flexibility available to you. By all means use the 398 forms if you like and just send the project descriptions (along with the other, NIGMS-specific requirements) as e-mail attachments to our mailbox: NIGMSARRAAdminSupplements@nigms.nih.gov.

      How should I format the project description?

      I recommend formatting the project description with headers corresponding to the specific elements you are asked to address: a) purpose of the supplement, b) how it fits in the scope of the parent award, c) specifics of the activities and approach.

  11. Dear Paul,

    Thanks very much for your help with these questions. I have one of my own…my parent R00 award has allocated money for 50% of my research assistant’s salary. This individual is a member of an underrepresented ethnic group. Can I request an administrative supplement for the remaining 50% of his salary through the PA-08-190
    “Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research”?

    Thanks again!

    • My parent R00 award has allocated money for 50% of my research assistant’s salary. This individual is a member of an underrepresented ethnic group. Can I request an administrative supplement for the remaining 50% of his salary through the PA-08-190 “Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research”?

      An R00 award is certainly eligible for a diversity supplement. I would strongly urge anyone interested in this program to contact Dr. John Whitmarsh (whitmarj@nigms.nih.gov, 301-451-6446).

  12. Hello,

    Our P50 requires an annual progress report. Would we report quarterly on the Stimulus Administrative Supplement request or as an addendum to the progress report (as we do with our Supplement to Increase Diversity in Healthcare)?

    There are different requirements stated on NIH website and on the NIGMS Stimulus guidance site.

    Thank you, J

    • Our P50 requires an annual progress report. Would we report quarterly on the Stimulus Administrative Supplement request or as an addendum to the progress report (as we do with our Supplement to Increase Diversity in Healthcare)?

      Recovery Act reporting is distinctly different from conventional (annual) NIH progress reports. The Recovery Act requires quarterly reporting, but the policies and procedures are still being worked out. When we know more, we’ll post it here and on our Recovery Act site.

  13. Hi, Paul,

    One more question about the “other support”. Do we need to supply an update of active or pending “other support” for all key personnel on the parent grant, or all key personnel on the administrative supplement, or the key personnel on either the parent grant or the administrative supplement?

    Thanks

    • Do we need to supply an update of active or pending “other support” for all key personnel on the parent grant, or all key personnel on the administrative supplement, or the key personnel on either the parent grant or the administrative supplement?

      You should provide updated information on other support for all key personnel on both the parent grant and the administrative supplement. We need both active and pending support.

  14. I imagine that you are processing an unprecedented number of administrative supplement applications.

    Is there any mechanism by which we can know that our supplement applications have been received? (without all of us nagging NIGMSARRAAdminSupplements)

    How much time between submission and decision should we expect?

    • Is there any mechanism by which we can know that our supplement applications have been received? How much time between submission and decision should we expect?

      Unfortunately, we are not sending out receipt confirmations. We plan to make administrative supplement decisions 6-8 weeks after receipt and issue awards about 3 weeks after that. Hope this helps.

      • So, my supplement request was received ~16 weeks ago. Does this mean that it is declined? If it is declined, will I receive notification to that effect, or will I just never hear anything?

        • Your desire for more information is certainly understandable, but I regret to say that we can’t provide an estimated timeline. If you haven’t heard anything yet, you’re still under consideration. As Dr. Berg said in his Feedback Loop post from Friday (https://loop.nigms.nih.gov/index.php/2009/07/31/recovery-act-status/), we’re working hard to let people know as soon as we can if they are or aren’t getting an award.

  15. For the PHS form pages 4 & 5, we are required to submit a justification the supplement does not reflect a change in the parent grant.

    Is it acceptable if we reuse the relevant parts of the five page summary?

    I ask because it appears we are asked for this information twice.

    Thank you

    • For the PHS form pages 4 & 5, we are required to submit a justification the supplement does not reflect a change in the parent grant. Is it acceptable if we reuse the relevant parts of the five page summary?

      I can see how you might have thought this was asking for the same information twice, but the sections are pretty different. In pages 4 & 5, we are looking for a justification for the line items requested. In the 5-page summary, we are looking for a justification that the work proposed does not represent a change in the project’s original scope. Thus, the former is very specific and quantitative (e.g., price quote for the requested piece of equipment, justification for a level of effort), while the latter is not (e.g., this particular method was not available at the time of application, recent publications shows a new aspect to the original question).

  16. Hi Paul:
    Are references included in the 5 page limit of the proposal? I assume not, but want to be sure.
    Thank you for your time and assistance.

    • Are references included in the 5 page limit of the proposal? I assume not, but want to be sure.

      You are right; references don’t count against the 5-page limit.

  17. We submitted an administrative supplement funding request in April and it has not yet appeared in the Commons, nor have we received notification regarding its status. Could you please provide an estimate of how much time typically elapses before a supplementary request appears in the Commons?

    • Supplement awards are made about 6-8 weeks after submission. However, most applications that are not paid at that time are not deactivated. They remain under active consideration so that if our budget allows, an award can be made without a second submission.

      • Hi Paul,

        In general your column is very helpful but in this case you didn’t answer the question. I also want to know how I can find out if the administrative supplement I submitted is being processed or was even received. I sent it to the email address in the NIGMS instructions: NIGMSARRAAdminSupplements@nigms.nih.gov, but I haven’t gotten any confirmation and the supplement application doesn’t appear on NIH Commons. How do I find out the status of my request?

        • I also want to know how I can find out if the administrative supplement I submitted is being processed or was even received. I sent it to the email address in the NIGMS instructions: NIGMSARRAAdminSupplements@nigms.nih.gov, but I haven’t gotten any confirmation and the supplement application doesn’t appear on NIH Commons. How do I find out the status of my request?

          NIGMS has now set up an “auto-reply” function for its ARRA mailboxes, so those who submit from now on should get confirmation that we received the message. Unfortunately, those who already submitted a request won’t be notified retroactively.

          As for finding your request in the NIH Commons, NIH grants policy has always been that administrative supplements do not have a formal entry in our information systems until an award is made. NIGMS is processing only a small number of administrative supplements until we sort out the budget implications of the competitive revision, two-year R01 and Challenge Grant programs, which may not be until mid-July, when the study sections will have met.

          You likely won’t know the status of your request until we have made a final (positive or negative) decision. As mentioned earlier, we are keeping as many applications as possible active, although this number will soon decrease sharply as decisions about other programs are made. Until then, I would ask you to please bear with us as we deal with an unprecedented number of requests.

  18. Is it correct that NIGMS does not support supplements for engaging undergraduates and faculty from other institutions (PUI’s, in particular) in summer research?

    If so, is there any other mechanism through which I can apply?

    • Our regular administrative supplement program can be used to support summer research activities. So while we are not participating in the special Recovery Act summer program for students and teachers, NIGMS principal investigators who wish to support a summer research experience should apply for a regular administrative supplement for this purpose.

  19. Paul-
    Thank you for answering the questions on this site. It is very helpful. My question concerns the pace of administrative supplements at NIGMS relative to other institutions. A check on RePorter shows the following numbers of ARRA funds awarded by a few institutes:

    NIAID has 520 so far (nationwide).
    NIGMS has 22 so far (nationwide).
    NIDDK has 64 (nationwide)
    NEI has 60 (nationwide)
    NHLBI has 362 (nationwide)

    Why are some institutes faster than others? We put in an administrative supplement in mid-April, and my lab has actually put off spending until we hear about it. Its almost easier to hear a “no” or an “unlikely” than to be held in limbo when others at your institution are getting ARRA grants from other NIH institutes. Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • We are very aware of this issue, and NIGMS Director Jeremy Berg is preparing a new post with more on our Recovery Act strategy and current status. In the interim, I will say that because institutes and centers have different strategies for using Recovery Act funds, the level of administrative review can vary a lot. Since NIGMS is committing a relatively large percentage of its funds to administrative supplements, our administrative review responsibilities are substantial. That said, we are making every effort to improve our processing of awards, and I expect that the pace will pick up soon. Stay tuned for Jeremy’s post.

  20. My R01 application was just reviewed by study section and received a poor score (29th percentile). This application is for a new R01, and might be appropriate for consideration as a 2 year award.

    How do I look into this? What is the process for converting an application into a 2 year award?

    • We will be considering all scored applications for support using Recovery Act funds, and we’re giving those in your range a close look.

      If you think your project aligns with the goals of the Recovery Act and is appropriate for a two-year award, I suggest you send a one-page summary explaining why to your program officer (contact info available on the Commons and on your summary statement).

      A two-year award will necessarily be significantly different than the project you originally proposed. You and your program officer will determine an appropriate set of specific aims which, in the event of an award, will replace the original specific aims and abstract in our information systems.

      Please know that our decisions about which recently reviewed applications to consider for two-year awards can’t be made until summary statements are available for a significant number of the applications.

  21. Dear Paul,
    I submitted my administrative supplement around mid April 2009. It has been three long months since my submission and I have not heard anything on its status. How longer can I expect to wait before I find out whether it will be funded or not. Thanks for your input.
    Amjad

    • Paul is out of the office, so I’m replying in his absence. Nothing has changed regarding the timing of supplement awards since Paul responded to a similar question on June 18 (see below for that answer). We are continuing to process the large number of supplement requests we have received as quickly as we can. If you haven’t heard from us, it simply means that we haven’t made a final decision on your request yet.

      Ann Hagan, NIGMS associate director for extramural activities

      Q: How do I find out the status of my request?
      A: You likely won’t know the status of your request until we have made a final (positive or negative) decision. As mentioned earlier, we are keeping as many applications as possible active, although this number will soon decrease sharply as decisions about other programs are made. Until then, I would ask you to please bear with us as we deal with an unprecedented number of requests.

  22. There is a lot of frustration right now because so little information is given about administrative supplement requests. Could you provide some overall statistics? How many applications were received, how many have been funded, how many have been declined, and how many are in limbo? How long does it take to hear something? Mine was submitted May 17 and I have heard nothing.

  23. Stanford-
    I am in the same position as you, only I sent in my supplement request in April. I have been following the funding on crisp reporter. On the new site, you can specify supplements funded by NIGMS through the recovery act. When I last checked, there were about 125 funded. I think they’re starting to get funded, but if we haven’t heard by now, I think we’re out of luck.

  24. I understand that the Administrative Supplements submitted between April-July 2009 will NOT get funded in the current fiscal cycle ending September 30th, 2009. So I hope that we will hear something positive or negative regarding our supplements after September 30th, 2009.

  25. This isn’t correct. In fact, Dr. Berg’s most recent post shows that we’re accelerating our funding pace. We can make two-year awards until the end of September (for supplement applications submitted before July 15), and we will consider the rest for one-year awards in fiscal year 2010 (starting on October 1). We certainly understand that it’s very stressful to not know the funding decision, and we’re trying to give definitive information as soon as we have it.

  26. Paul,
    Would it be reasonable to assume that administrative applications submitted before July 15th, 2009, will receive a decision by the end of December 31st, 2009. Or will they continue to be considered into 2010? Please help us understand this process so that we can plan ahead.
    Amjad

    • Administrative supplement applications submitted by July 15, 2009, will continue to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2010, which begins on October 1, 2009. We do not have a specific timeline for when funding decisions will be made, although we are trying to award as many supplements as we can before the end of the current fiscal year.

  27. Can you provide some statistics about what fraction of the administrative supplement applications have been funded so far? Also, what fraction do you anticipate you will be able to award before the end of this fiscal year?

  28. Hi Paul

    In my administrative supplement I requested funds for equipment ($25k) and personnel.

    Would it be appropriate to submit a second administrative supplement requesting funds to pay for the equipment only, in case the first is not funded? My grant expires 3.30.10, but I intend to request an NCE.

    Thanks!

    • Because the initial request remains under consideration, there’s no real advantage to submitting a second request. We can use the original request to consider a partial award (assuming the second request would be for the same equipment).

      As far as the end date, if the grant is not already in an extension, you are eligible to invoke a no-cost extension and must do so prior to the current end date. If the grant is already in extension, an additional no-cost extension requires prior NIH approval and must be well-justified (keeping the grant active for ARRA funding consideration is not sufficient).

  29. Paul-
    I’d love to hear the statistics too. I think some of the frustration lies in the fact that we can’t tell if there’s a 50% funding rate for administrative supplements (as was assumed by many of us when the stimulus passed) versus a 5% rate. If its a 5% rate, then nobody counts on it and is happy when they receive it whereas if its a 50% rate people wonder “why not me” and “why so long?” Knowing a rough funding rate (within 10 percentage points) would go a long way toward helping us plan and alleviating some of the frustration.

  30. If we have still not heard anything at all about an admin supplement that was submitted in May or June, what should we assume? Obviously there will be no FY09 money from this now, but does the silence imply a possibility of FY10 money? Or that our application has fallen through the cracks?

  31. I would also love some follow-up at this point. I only recently heard back from another institute about a supplement submitted last April and am still waiting on a supplement from GM submitted 7/1/09. As CCF mentioned, some update would help us plan and alleviate frustration.

  32. Paul, I must say a real hard work is clearly appearing on reading this article. Your suggestive tips aided me a lot in making a decision over requesting recovery act administrative supplements. I got to know that one needs to put in an update of active and pending “other support,” including other ARRA supplement requests being submitted to NIH, and a description of any scientific or budgetary overlap with the current request; a statement regarding the expenditure of currently available unobligated grant funds. One must describe plans to spend remaining funds in order to support the need for additional funds and a summary of the proposed activity, indicating its public health relevance as appropriate. Can you please suggest me wheteher we really need a justification that the proposed activity does not reflect a change in the parent project’s IRG-approved scope or not?

    • Dear Clintion,

      Whether a proposal is “in scope” or not is a pretty important consideration. If it is “in scope,” then the supplement request can be processed by internal, administrative procedures. If it is not, then the request must go out for full review by a study section and advisory council.The submission procedures also differ: administrative supplement requests go directly to NIGMS, while those that require full review must be submitted through Grants.gov.

      Best wishes,
      Paul

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