You’ve received the Summary Statement with the reviewer's comments about your application. Unfortunately, your application won’t be funded. What is your next step?
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Many applicants don’t know that they get a second chance, which is called a resubmission. A resubmission is an unfunded application that has been modified in response to the initial review and has been resubmitted for consideration. The process for resubmitting an application is exactly the same as the process for your first submission. In a resubmission, however, you can provide additional information which is intended to address reviewer concerns and improve your score.
Resubmitted applications are different from initial applications in several important ways:
- Resubmissions include a one-page Introduction attachment where you can summarize additions, deletions, and changes to the application following the initial review and resulting feedback. Do not mark up specific changes within application attachments (e.g., do not highlight, color, bold, or italicize changes); simply summarize the changes in the Introduction.
- Resubmissions can include substantial changes to the body of the application (e.g., research strategy, human subjects, project team, budget, etc.) and are not limited to changes made in response to reviewer feedback.
- Your resubmission must follow the standard page limits and other requirements of the opportunity used for the resubmission.
The Introduction is an important communication with reviewers. It is recommended (but not required) you include the following in your “Response to Reviewer Comments” page:
- Thank the reviewers for their thoughtful comments in the initial review
- Directly address the issues and concerns that were raised in the summary statement
- Summarize substantial additions, deletions, and changes you are making to the application
What is the process for resubmitting an application?
- Resubmission applications must be submitted through Grants.gov to NIH using ASSIST, Workspace, or an institutional system-to-system solution following the same process as your original application.
- Resubmission must be listed in the Application Types Allowed section of the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO).
- Provide the Institute or Center code and serial number from your initial application in the Federal Identifier field (box 4a) on the SF424 R&R form (e.g., CA987654 from 1R42CA987654-01 A0).
- Select "Resubmission" in the Type of Application field (box 8) on the SF424 R&R form.
You only have 37 months after your initial application to resubmit, and you only have one opportunity to resubmit.
Since you only have one opportunity to resubmit, you will need to decide whether resubmission is a good strategy for you (as opposed to submitting a brand-new application). You don’t have to make this decision alone -- this is one of the most important roles an NIH Program Official (PO) plays in helping you.
You can find the name and contact information of the PO at the NIH Institute or Center, where your application was assigned at the top of the Summary Statement. Set up a phone consultation with your PO, and be prepared to discuss:
- Whether the reviewer comments seem “addressable” - i.e., you can see ways to incorporate their suggestions to improve your application.
- How you are prepared to address the reviewer's comments.
- How to fit your most important responses to the reviewer's comments into one page.
The best way to learn about the review process, including what reviewers are looking for, is to volunteer to be a reviewer. The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) is always looking for new peer reviewers. Volunteer to be a reviewer today!
We’re staunch supporters of this program. If anyone asks me about the NIH Small Business program, I give them nothing but encouragement to apply.
[SBIR] has been a long, trying, but worthwhile journey...from multiple submissions that were not discussed...to applications that scored below the funding levels...to concurrent applications (one Phase II and a Phase I) emerging from the rigorous peer review process with impact scores in the “Excellent" range.
In terms of venture capitalists for minority businesses, it is a really unfair playing field. So, the fact that SBIR funds minority businesses like ours is huge because otherwise, we would not get any investments.