Update on NIH Special Council Review Policy

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NIH has announced a new policy whereby applications from investigators who receive more than $1 million in direct research support from active NIH grants will receive additional scrutiny by NIH institute and center (IC) advisory councils. This is a threshold, not a cap: Investigators may still receive additional grant awards if the ICs determine such awards will further their missions.

A few notes: The policy replaces a piloted one that set the threshold at $1.5 million total costs. NIGMS will continue its current practice that sets the threshold for special scrutiny of well-funded investigators at $750,000 or more in direct costs for all research support, regardless of the source.

Below is a chart that outlines some of the differences between the NIH and NIGMS policies. For more discussion on this topic, see comments to my earlier post.



Funding source

NIH only

NIH and non-NIH


$1M direct costs on existing grants

$750K direct costs including the pending application


RFAs, P01s, some multi-PI awards

Resource awards

One Reply to “Update on NIH Special Council Review Policy”

  1. In my opinion, this is a good policy, provided that NIH institute and center (IC) advisory councils will work closely and interact directly with the PIs during the review process, perhaps, by seeking additional information, clarifications, updates, etc. Also, clarifications should be made regarding the applicability of this policy to the projects with multiple PIs. In my opinion, only parts of the budget of the Multi-PIs projects that directly support the research in the individual PI’s lab should be included in calculation of the his/her thresholds.

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