NIAMS Guidance for New COVID-19 Research and Supplemental Funding

NIAMS is taking several approaches noted below to support new research and ensure the continuity of our research efforts in response to COVID-19.

New Research Funding for COVID-19: In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, NIAMS has announced a Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) promoting research on COVID-19 and rheumatic, musculoskeletal and skin diseases.

In addition, NIAMS participates in several NIH wide programs that highlight the urgent need for research on SARS-CoV-2. This includes the RADx-UP Program and the INCLUDE Project.

These programs are described in greater detail below.

Supplemental Funding COVID-19: NIAMS understands that many of its grantees may require supplemental funding to help mitigate the disruptions and negative impacts they have experienced during this public health emergency. Here are some of the options available:

Administrative Supplements

NIAMS grant recipients are still able to submit requests for administrative supplements to existing awards at any time utilizing the parent announcement, PA-20-272. However, NIAMS does not currently have funding specifically available for research supplements directly related to COVID-19.

NIAMS recommends that institutions hold off on submitting COVID-19-related administrative supplement requests until such time as:

  1. the full impact of the pandemic on the grant’s research plans and progress is clear, and
  2. recipients have had the chance to discuss the various options (including the use of rebudgeting and the use of carryover funds) with their program officer and grants management specialist and have agreed that an administrative supplement is the best option for their project.

New Programs for SARS-CoV-2/COVID-2019 Response 

In addition to administrative supplements, NIAMS offers funding opportunities through its own NOSI as well as NIH wide programs. These include:

NIAMS Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Flexibilities for Trainees and Other Early-Career Researchers

Regarding the impact on early career investigators, fellows, junior faculty, and trainees, NIAMS agrees that the pandemic and shutdown of labs has posed several unique challenges to these investigators whose research career is essentially on hold. In addressing these concerns, NIH and NIAMS has made a concerted effort to make sure that faculty members in their early careers have maximum flexibility to continue their research on NIH grants.

Some of these flexibilities include:

No Cost Extensions: For Phased awards (e.g. K99) and other training, fellowship and career development awards where extensions are usually limited, NIH will consider extensions that are made by request from the Principal Investigator and the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR). Recipients may also submit prior approval requests for second no-cost extensions. These requests must include a justification outlining the impact of COVID-19 on the recipient’s training and career development activities and will be considered by the funding IC(s) on a case by case basis.

This also applies to circumstances when NIAMS K99 recipients are not able to transition to an R00 award due to COVID-19. NIAMS will consider extensions for obtaining faculty positions. Requests should be made for up to 12 months with each increment.

Funded Extensions: F and K award recipients in their final year or in a first no cost extension (NCE), may request a funded extension via the AOR. 

To facilitate consistency and a simpler administrative review, NIAMS funded extension requests be submitted electronically through Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements Parent Announcement, PA-20-272. Funded extension supplement applications should reference NOT-OD-21-052 in Section 4b of their SF 424 forms.

These requests will be considered by NIAMS on a case-by-case basis using the following considerations and eligibility criteria:

  • Awards must be in their final year or in the first No Cost Extension (NCE)
  • Budget requests should be limited to support provided up to 6 months or the amount of time that the awardee was prevented from working on the aims of their project, whichever is shorter. Extensions typically will not exceed the time that the training or career development activities were suspended unless there were significant additional hardships.
  • Justifications should explain how training or career development activities have been significantly hindered over and above lost research productivity that most individuals experienced because of COVID-19 related shutdowns.
  • Requests that will cause individuals to exceed their current limit for NRSA support require a strong justification that highlights the hardships caused by COVID-19.
  • Applications must be received by July 1, 2021 to be considered for FY2021 funding.
  • Requests are considered pending the availability of funds.

In accordance with NOT-OD-21-052, PA-20-272 instructions and NIAMS guidance, Funded extension requests must include the following information:

  • Applications will require a statement of need included with the Research Plan that will:
    • Explain how research training or career development significantly suffered above and beyond lost research productivity that most individuals experienced because of COVID-19 related shutdowns. This may include loss of job opportunities.
    • Detail time lost and lack of access to essential institutional facilities and/or resources and dates when those resources were unavailable.
    • Describe the research and career development activities that will be performed during the extension period, how those activities relate to the originally proposed research and career development plans, and how the supplemental funds will be used to increase or preserve the likelihood for the project to succeed.
    • Institutional commitment letter
  • Budget requests are limited to no more than the amount of the current parent award, prorated, and must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. Funds for salary, fringe, and research support can be requested.
  • The budget justification should include a description of any additional funds available to ensure sustained research, the availability of carryover funds from previous years, and any local assistance, including matching funds or specified 'in kind' support should be described.
  • For predoctoral or postdoctoral fellowships, indicate whether tuition funds are being requested.
  • Provide the training stage (e.g., fourth year postdoctoral fellow) and the amount of time requested (e.g., 3 months).

Interruptions to Research Activities

Please contact NIAMS staff if you need to stop or reduce research activities on a K award to provide clinical care to COVID-19 patients to discuss your options. You may be able to reduce effort, request an extension or take a leave of absence.

For T32 awards, please consult with NIAMS staff if you have difficulty filling spots, unused funds or need to cancel a program. Since needs and circumstances vary, NIAMS will consider requests on a case by case basis.


More Information

NIH routinely updates Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that specifically address Training, Fellowship and Career Development Awards which can be found our NIH’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Information for NIH Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funding Page.

For more information on Extensions for Early Career Scientists whose career trajectories have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, please refer to NOT-OD-21-052.

Visit combatCOVID.hhs.gov for more information to help you make decisions about your health and what you can do to join the fight against COVID-19.

Contact

For questions on COVID-19 funding, please email NIAMS_COVID-19@nih.gov.

Last Updated: July 2021