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NIH Updates - Summary

Feb 4, 2020, 14:28 PM by Melodi Moore

Over the last six months, the NIH has been revising policies, websites and encouraging more people to get involved in the NIH review process.  With the beginning of a new calendar year, many of these revisions are taking effect.  As a service to the UTMB research community, this is a summary of changes researchers can expect to see either now or in the future.

October 2019 - ORCID iDs Required
Trainees, scholars, and participants supported by institutional research training, career development, and research education awards required to have an ORCID identifier and have that identifier linked to their eRA Commons Personal Profile form (PPF) in order to receive support from said award.

November 22, 2019 - Change in Diversity language in funding opportunities

Section A.  - Individuals from underrepresented  racial and ethnic groups
The language was changed  in  to set forth that grantee institutions be encouraged to participate in NIH programs that embrace diversity. Racial and ethnic categories and definitions changed to OMB Revisions to the Standards for Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity

Section B.  - Individuals with disabilities
No changes

Section C.  - Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds
Definition changed to those who meet two or more of a list of seven criteria.

NEW Category Section D.  -   Women from the above categories
Awardee institutions are encouraged to consider women for faculty-level, diversity-targeted programs to address faculty recruitment, appointment, retention or advancement.

January 25, 2020 - ORCID iD extended to include Fellowship/Career Development Awards

Enforcement for having an ORCID iD present on your eRA Commons Personal Profile page is extended to individual fellowship and career development awards at the time of application.

If you have not gotten an ORCID iD yet, the Moody Medical Library has an online guide.  NIH also has a video tutorial available

January 24, 2020 - NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) announces change of 50% full professor on review committees
Review Matter Blog - Noni Barnes, Director Center for Scientific Review
CSR to discontinue the practice of granting one-year continuous submission status to reviewers with recent substantial review service

The CSR is encouraging scientific review officers (SROs) to focus on scientific contributions (demonstrable in a range of ways, e.g. recent publications, R01 or equivalent extramural funding from other sources, etc.), expertise, and breadth instead of trying to meet a career-stage metric.  Statistics show that 18% of individuals with active R01 funding have not served as a review within the last 12 years.  30% of awardees have served 1-5 times.   94% of all reviewers have served one to 36 times in 12 years.

Additionally, the CSR is discontinuing the “recent substantial service” policy that extended continuous submission benefits to those who served 6 times over a period of 18 months (6 times in 5 rounds).  The CSR feels that this policy has encouraged excessive ad hoc review service within a short time frame. Continuous submission eligibility for appointed members of NIH study sections and committees will not change.

April 17 - April 20, 2020 - eRA Modules migration to the Amazon Web Services Cloud
eRA Items of Interest

From 8 a.m. ET on Friday, April 17 to 8 p.m. ET on Monday, April 20 the eRA system will be unavailable. This effort will affect all the eRA modules (eRA Commons, ASSIST, IAR, iEdison, etc.) and all informational websites (, etc.). Any affected due dates will be extended and the 2-day viewing window for successfully submitted applications will be adjusted to provide the full two days. 

Ongoing - Maintaining your eRA Commons Personal Profile Form

The Personal Profile (PPF) in eRA Commons is the central repository of information on all eRA Commons registered users. This profile information is then integrated throughout eRA's systems and used for a variety of agency business such as peer review, application data, and trainee data.  

The PPF was redesigned from the ground up to provide a modern and intuitive interface, with clear feedback to ensure it is completed accurately and fully. All sections need to be completed before the profile can be successfully saved.


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