NIH Guidance on Marking Changes in Resubmissions

By Bouvier Grant Group

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NIH issued updated guidance regarding marking changes in resubmission applications. Markings such as bracketing, indenting, italicizing, margin lines, change in typography, font, font color, or any other type of markup should not be used to identify changes in resubmissions. Changes to resubmission applications should only be outlined in the Introduction.  (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-24-061.html)

Here are a few tips from us:

  1. Because you may only note changes in the one-page Introduction to the Revised Application, it can be useful to use a detailed outline in the Research Strategy, so that you may refer to specific sections of the Research Strategy in the Introduction.
  2. While the new guidance forbids markup to identify changes in resubmissions,  using formatting strategically and selectively to facilitate skimming is fine. Judiciously bolding or underlining short headers or items to help a reviewer spot them so they don’t get lost among the text is helpful.

A bit of history on the subject: Prior to FY15, applicants were required to mark changes on resubmissions. Then in FY15 marking changes became optional (per NOT-OD-15-030). At some point, there was language on the NIH website saying that you were not allowed to mark changes (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/amendedapps.htm) but people seemed to miss this guidance. The most recently issued guidance seems to be the final word (at least for now!) on the topic.

Author:
Dr. Meg Bouvier

Margaret Bouvier received her PhD in 1995 in Biomedical Sciences from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. After an NINDS post-doctoral fellowship, she worked as a staff writer for long-standing NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins in the Office of Press, Policy, and Communications for the Human Genome Project and NHGRI. Since 2007, Meg has specialized in editing and advising on NIH submissions, and began offering virtual courses in 2015. She's recently worked with more than 40% of the nation's highest-performing hospitals*, four of the top 10 cancer hospitals, three of the top five medical schools for research, and 14 NCI-designated cancer centers. Her experience at NIH as both a bench scientist and staff writer greatly informs her approach to NIH grantwriting. She has helped clients land over half a billion in federal funding. Bouvier Grant Group is a woman-owned small business.

*Our clients include 9 of the top 22 hospitals as recognized by the 2023/24 US News & World Report honor roll

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