NIH Grant Instructions about Money are Never Unimportant

by Tom Hollon

Even minor instructions about money can be a big deal

When NIH grant application instructions concern matters that are not strictly related to research, you may be tempted to give them short shrift. Watch out, because doing this can mean the difference between winning and losing your grant.

This applies especially to grant application instructions about money.

I remember, for instance, how one scientist told me of applying for a grant that had several pages of instructions about describing her research program and only a single, small paragraph about explaining administration of research funds. She assumed, as anyone might, that NIH was mostly concerned about research, and consequently she devoted very little space in her application to discussing financial matters.

You can guess what happened. When she received the summary statements from reviewers, she was surprised to be criticized for an inadequate explanation of how she would administer the money. And partly for that reason, she was not funded.

Lesson: Inadequate attention to money matters can kill your grant

So even for instructions not strictly related to research, pay serious attention. Double super ditto for instructions about money. And get these instructions completed early rather than at the last moment before the submission deadline, for this could be critical to your success.

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