- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
NIH Scrambles to Catch Up After U.S. Shutdown
18 October 2013 12:30 pm
Grants staff members at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who came back to work yesterday after the 16-day government shutdown ended will now need to catch up on a backlog of research proposals and canceled peer-review meetings. Exactly how all this will play out isn’t yet clear, and angst is rising in the blogosphere about how researchers seeking new funding for their projects will be affected.
Yesterday, NIH extramural research chief Sally Rockey announced on her blog that NIH was back in business and added a warning:
However, the shutdown came at one of our busiest periods and it is going to take some time to bring the extramural program back to full strength. As of today we can confirm that we will be rescheduling all October grant application submission deadlines to dates in November so that applicants will have access to NIH staff, help desks, and electronic systems. The specific revised due dates will be published in the NIH Guide as soon as we worked them out. We expect the eRA Commons and other NIH extramural electronic systems to be up and accessible to the public on Monday, October 21.
Review meetings were missed during the shutdown will need rescheduling and others that were to occur right now or next week may also will need to be cancelled to allow reviewers enough time to have access to applications and complete their reviews.
In a brief notice, NIH explains that all peer-review meetings scheduled for 1 October through 17 October are being rescheduled. This includes hundreds of meetings, according to a statement this morning from the NIH press office.
According to a tweet posted on the DrugMonkey blog, some peer-review meetings will be canceled altogether and the proposals will be added to the next round of review panels starting in February. That double duty prompted worries that reviewers will be overwhelmed: “I can't help but think sitting on a section is going to go from being intense but manageable to being a real nightmare,” gingerest wrote. But DrugMonkey points to a bright side: Some researchers may take advantage of the chance to pull their proposals and resubmit them with fresh data.
Meanwhile, patients are again being admitted to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. But elsewhere on the campus, where about 6000 researchers work in intramural laboratories, the shutdown “has resulted in a profound loss of momentum,” NIH said in its statement. While some projects “continued at a greatly reduced pace,” the majority were put on hold. It may take “many months” to restart these hundreds of experiments, NIH says.