Addressing Pandemic-Related Productivity in NIH Grant Applications

February 8, 2022

If you are submitting an NIH grant application on or before May 7, 2022 (for the August/October 2022 Council round) and your research productivity has been negatively affected by the pandemic, the NIH encourages you to take advantage of several COVID-19-related flexibilities currently in effect.

NIH has issued specific guidance that investigators should address effects due to the pandemic on productivity or other scoreable issues in the Personal Statement (Section A) of the biosketch. While the Personal Statement has always been the intended section in the biosketch to explain factors affecting productivity (e.g., parental leave, family care responsibilities, medical conditions), it is important to know that negative impacts of the pandemic on your research should also be included. Reviewers of your application will be instructed to take pandemic-related circumstances outlined in the biosketch into account when assessing your research productivity and other score-driving factors.

NIH is also currently allowing the submission of preliminary data after application submission for most funding opportunities, as long as it is provided at least 30 days before the study section meeting (and the funding opportunity allows preliminary data). A one-page update of preliminary data will be accepted as post-submission material for single component applications, or for each component of a multi-component application.

Additional pandemic-related flexibilities currently in effect for NIH grants are outlined in this NIH Extramural Nexus article. Please note: if you are planning on taking advantage of any of these flexibilities, it is important to read the associated policy notices carefully and consult with your funding Institute or Center to ensure you fully understand the details.

Questions regarding pandemic-related productivity in your NIH grant application may be directed to the Grant Services & Analysis (GS&A) office at If you are creating your first NIH biosketch, or updating a previous version, the GS&A office has created a checklist and a video to assist U-M investigators.