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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.