NIH Specifics, Tips & Tricks

The information provided on this page covers the expectations and requirements for submitting proposals to the National Institutes of Health.

Biosketch & Other Support

The Biosketch and Other Support are two separate documents serving two separate purposes. The intent of a Biosketch is to provide information on the credentials and qualifications of participants. The Other Support document is intended to show any potential overlap in effort, funding, or research plans. Although sometimes similar, they are not interchangeable.

Grant Services & Analysis does not require the Biosketch as a part of the Administrative Shell for review prior to approval. However, prior to submission institutionally it will be verified that no effort is listed on the Biosketch.  If effort is listed the project team will be asked to remove it. Additionally, if dollars are noted on the Biosketch the project team will be notified that this should not be included, though the decision to revise or not will be left to them.

When a sponsor requires the Other Support document (in either the NIH format or another sponsor’s format), Grant Services & Analysis then requires it for review as a part of the Administrative Shell. We would expect that the format to be consistent with sponsor guidelines.


Typically requested information on a biosketch includes items like those noted below. This example is specific to the NIH. Other sponsors may request information in a slightly different format.

For most NIH applications* and non-competing renewals, biosketches are required for all personnel listed in the Senior/Key Personnel section of the proposal. The biosketch may not exceed 4 pages. Click here for a sample biosketch.

The following sections should be included on a biosketch:

A.  Personal Statement. Briefly describe why your experience and qualifications make you particularly well-suited for your role (e.g., PD/PI, mentor, participating faculty) in the project that is the subject of the application.

B.  Positions and Honors. List in chronological order previous positions, concluding with your present position. List any honors. Include present membership on any Federal Government public advisory committee.

C.  Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications. NIH encourages applicants to limit the list of selected peer-reviewed publications or manuscripts in press to no more than 15. Do not include manuscripts submitted or in preparation. The individual may choose to include selected publications based on recency, importance to the field, and/or relevance to the proposed research. Check for abstracts or presentations, as these are usually not peer-reviewed.

D.  Research Support (Ongoing and/or Completed in the Last Three Years). Needs to effectively say “Research Support” not “Other Support.” The recommended titling of the section “(Ongoing and/or Completed in the Last Three Years)” is in order to avoid the constant reshuffle between Ongoing and Completed categories, though that portion of the title is not required.

List both selected ongoing and completed (during the last three years) research projects (Federal or non-Federal support). Begin with the projects that are most relevant to the research proposed in this application. List the sponsor, title of project, dates, role on project, and major goals. Do not include number of person months (effort), direct costs, or pending projects. 

If the participant has no current or prior research support, list “None.”

* The format for mentored K- and F-Awards varies slightly for the applicant (not the sponsor), so please follow the SF424 or PA/PAR/RFA specific instructions.


Typically requested information on an Other Support document includes items like those noted below. This example is specific to the NIH. Other sponsors may request information in a slightly different format.

In most cases Other Support is requested by NIH prior to award (Just-in-Time) and is required for key personnel as defined in the application. There is no page limit for Other Support.

Other Support includes all financial resources, whether Federal, non-Federal, commercial, or institutional, available in direct support of an individual’s research endeavors, including but not limited to research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and/or institutional awards. Training awards, prizes, or gifts are not included.

If the participant has no active or pending support, indicate “None.”

If the support is provided under a consortium/contractual arrangement or is part of a multi-project award, indicate the project number, PD/PI, and source for the overall project, and provide all other information for the subproject only.

The following information should be included for each current or pending project (no completed projects):

  • Project Number: If applicable, include a code or identifier for the project.
  • Source: Identify the agency, institute, foundation, or other organization that is providing the support. Include institutional, federal, public, and private sources of support.
  • Major Goals: Provide a brief statement of the overall objectives of the project, subproject, or consortium/contractual arrangement.
  • Dates of Approved/Proposed Project: Indicate the inclusive dates of the project as approved/proposed.
  • Annual Direct Costs: In the case of an active project, provide the current year’s direct cost budget. For a pending project, provide the proposed direct cost budget for the initial budget period.
  • Percent Effort/Person Months: For an active project, provide the level of actual effort in person months (even if unsalaried) for the current budget period. Person months should be classified as academic, calendar, and/or summer. For a pending project, indicate the level of effort in person months as proposed for the initial budget period. In cases where an individual’s appointment is divided into academic and summer segments, indicate the proportion of each devoted to the project.
  • Overlap: Summarize any potential overlap with the active or pending projects and this application in terms of the science, budget, or an individual’s committed effort.

Renewals (Competing Continuations)

Renewals, also referred to as Competing Continuations, are by NIH’s definition, requests for assistance to extend for one or more additional budget periods a project period that would otherwise expire. Renewal applications compete under peer review for funds - usually with other renewal applications, revised (supplemental), and new applications. Also referred to in the NIH naming convention as a "Type 2". 

In layman’s terms Renewals are when you are applying for the next iteration or cycle of funding to continue your existing research project.

Proposed increases in budget are allowed over the current award period. The NIH institutes and Centers may set budgetary guidelines and may impose caps (generally 10 to 20%). If a previously awarded modular proposal increases costs and becomes categorical, this is acceptable. Please see your institute’s website for specifics. 

Although the application is a continuation of an ongoing project, you are still encouraged to create a full cost budget based on the new specific aims, before settling on the application budget. If the institute does impose budgetary caps, review your options for budget handling with your department. As always, not being able to "afford" the budget may result in a narrowing of the specific aims instead of department support.

Remember to:

  • Check the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to verify that your institute is accepting renewal applications or if there are new restrictions/expectations on applying (for instance, change of due dates by institute)
  • Choose Renewal as the type of application (SF424 Cover Page #8) if this is the first submission of this renewal
  • Choose Resubmission as the type of application (SF424 Cover Page #8) if this is a Resubmission of a Competing Continuation – see "Resubmissions" below
  • Include the 2 character institute code and 6 digit project number (CA123456) in the Federal Identifier field (SF424 Cover Page #4a)
  • Answer the Inventions and Patents question (#3) on the PHS 398 Checklist page of the SF424 application
  • Include the Inclusion Enrollment Report, if the application involves clinical research


A Resubmission is an application previously submitted and peer reviewed, not funded, and now being resent for consideration. Applicants must make significant changes to the application and can only resubmit once after the summary statement is available.  

Further information from the NIH is available in their Notice (NOT-OD-09-003). Please note that while NIH information is included here, most of these principles are applicable to resubmissions for any sponsor.

The NIH will accept only a single amendment to the original application (called a resubmission application). There is a suffix in its application identification number:                     

1 R01 CA123456 01 A1

Any second resubmission will be administratively withdrawn and not accepted for review.

A lengthy hiatus after the initial submission may be marked by significant advances in the scientific field and the comments of the reviewers may no longer be relevant. Therefore, a resubmission application must be submitted within 37 months after the date of receipt of the initial New or Renewal application (see NOT-OD-10-140). After 37 months, you may submit a New application. 

Remember to:

  • Include the 2 character institute code and 6 digit project number (CA123456) in the Federal Identifier field (SF424 Cover Page #4a) on the SF424
  • Choose Resubmission (even if it’s a Competing Continuation/Renewal as the type of application (SF424 Cover Page #8) on the SF424
  • Update key personnel (add or remove people accordingly) - and make sure all current key personnel are on the PAF to comply with all FCOI requirements
  • Update Ongoing/Completed section of the Biosketches (including publications and PMCID#s)
  • Update Human/Animal approvals
  • Review the space and resources listed for accuracy
  • Review the specific aims to evaluate whether there has been a change since last submission that warrants budget adjustments
  • Review the budget in terms of current costs to evaluate whether amounts (e.g. salaries, equipment quotes) have changed and require a rebudget
  • Review the revised justification for consistency with the revised budget
  • Obtain updated letters of support (including consultant letters) and subcontract agreement forms
  • Ensure referees update their letters of reference for Career Development Awards
  • Include the Introduction to Application attachment (typically limited to 1 page)
  • Mark the scientific changes by bracketing, indenting, or changing the typography rather than underlining or shading
  • Communicate the turn down of the previous submission in eRPM (if that hasn’t already been done)

Career Development (K) Award Specifics

Career Development or K Awards are subject to the general guidelines of the Program Announcement (PA). However, certain institutes award more funds or request slightly higher effort than what is in the general PA. Once a specific K program in identified and a likely institute chosen, a visit to the NIH’s document titled “K-Awards Across Institutes and Centers” on the NIH’s K Kiosk page will be helpful in detailing requirements for the chosen institute.

The NIH’s K Kiosk page also contains other tidbits of helpful information for use in preparing these career development applications such as the various types of K awards and a Career Award Wizard to help you select the right career award type for you.

The NIH Career Development Awards are focused in five general areas:

  • Mentored – This type of award supports supervised research working towards independence or a new area of study. (K01, K08, K23, K25)
  • Transition/Early Stage – The type of award supports the transition of post-docs to newly independent faculty positions. (K02, K22, K99/R00)
  • Mid-Career – The type of award supports mid-career investigators so that they may devote time to research and mentoring. (K24, K26)
  • Enhancement/Further Development – supports further development of senior researchers or training enhancement of funded researchers. (K05, K18)
  • Institutional – supports institutional programs to develop independent physician scientists. (K12)


Grant Services & Analysis provides a list of the components that we need for review. See our Routing Medical School Proposals page for specifics.

Some areas to keep in mind:

Facilities & Resources

  • Make sure any specific room listed in the resources are also specifically listed on the PAF
  • This is required in addition to the Description of the Institutional Environment document


  • Typically, the R&R Budget should only list the candidate in the Sr/Key Person section and then Research Support funds are lumped into the Materials and Supplies budget line, but the 424 guidelines do give you some flexibility
  • Mentors should not be reflected on the R&R Budget
  • See below on this web site for specific budget calculation information


  • There are modified guidelines for the candidate's biosketch that should be followed - look for "Biosketches" on the NIH SF424 Instructions

Modified Other Support of Mentor

  • Typically, this would show no effort and no overlap statements
  • When requested by program announcement, include only the current and pending research support for sponsors and co-sponsors that is relevant to the candidate's research plan

Letters of Support

  • The effort of the candidate noted in endorsement letters must reflect the same effort as the budget

Candidate's Background

  • Candidate's Background is required for review when the FOA requires the level of effort be noted and it must reflect the same effort as the letters of support and budget


  • Although the PAF may be in the name of the primary mentor, the proposal to NIH will always name the applicant as Principal Investigator (PI) and they will be listed as UM Sponsor PI on the PAF.
  • If the PAF is in the name of the primary mentor, the Additional Certification form must be signed by the applicant and uploaded to the PAF
  • All primary mentors are required to be listed on the PAF for FCOI tracking purposes.
  • Each Institute within the NIH may have its own salary and research support allotment for a K Award program. Please see the NIH K Kiosk for specific details by award type and institute.
  • If the applicant has a joint appointment with the VA specific criteria must be met. The division of effort must be formally documented with a Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the VA and this must be included in the proposal in order to disclose to the NIH the details of the relationship. Click here for more information on VA appointments.
  • Referees:
    • A list of referees must be uploaded to the #12 Other Attachments field on the Other Project Information page.
    • The cover letter must also include the identical list of referees.
    • Make sure your referees submit their letters to the Commons prior to the deadline.


Most K awards have a limit on the salary and research costs allowed. Fringe benefits and indirect costs are over and above the allowable costs listed in the program announcement.

Direct Costs =
Salary (up to allowable) + Associated Fringe Benefits + Research Costs (up to allowable)

Institute allows $75,000 for salary with at least 75% effort, and $50,000 for research costs per year.

  • Salary less than ceiling amount
    Candidate has 85% effort and a salary of $80,000:
    (85% x $80,000) $68,000 + $20,400 (30% fringes) + $50,000 research costs
    $138,400 requested in year 1. In the following years, you may increase the amount of salary and fringes (according to an anticipated increase for the candidate) up to the maximum allowed.
  • Salary equal to ceiling amount
    Candidate has 75% effort and a salary of $100,000:
    (75% x $100,000) $75,000 + $22,500 (30% fringes) + $50,000 research costs
    $147,500 direct costs requested for year 1. Since allowable costs are requested, there can be no increase in the following years.
  • Salary more than ceiling amount
    Candidate has 75% effort and a salary of $120,000:
    (75% x $120,000 = $90,000) $75,000 + $22,500 (30% fringes) + $50,000 research costs
    $147,500 direct costs requested for year 1. Since the full allowable costs are requested, there can be no increase in the following years.  

There are some K Awards that do not have a specified limit on the salary. These are still subject to the current NIH cap at time of award, but you may ask for actual and NIH will reduce as appropriate at time of award.


Most Ks have limits on salary and research costs. These are the general rules of thumb for documenting cost sharing on the PAF:

  • For salary, if you are asking for the minimum required effort and the dollars available are not enough to cover the cost, there is no cost sharing documented on the PAF, but the department/unit is responsible for covering the cost.
  • For Ks where the effort exceeds the minimum required and causes a funding gap, the % effort and fringes over the minimum must be in the detailed cost sharing section of the PAF.
  • For projects which indicate that any additional research costs will be covered from department/unit funds in the justification or institutional support letter, it must be documented on the PAF. (Specified dollar amount would be in the details of UM Cost Share; a general statement would be under Other UM Commitments”)


The NIH’s Table of Page Limits notes by activity code what the page limits are for each of those documents where page limits are enforced.

For more information on what should be included in the referee letters or other basic instructions visit the SF424 instructions. Look for the supplemental instructions for preparing individual research career development award applications (K Award series).

Individual NRSA Fellowship (F) Award Specifics

NRSA Individual Fellowship (F) Awards are available to support predoctoral, postdoctoral and senior fellows in becoming future highly trained, independent research investigators. 


  • The fellow (applicant) should be listed as the “UM Sponsor Principal Investigator” on the PAF
  • The primary mentor should be listed as the “UM Principal Investigator” on the PAF
  • The stipend, tuition and fees, training related expenses, and institutional allowance amounts are determined annually by the NIH (FFY12 amounts are found in notice NOT-OD-12-033)
  • The budget section of the PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form relating to Tuition and Fees should indicate “None Requested” if no tuition costs are requested, OR should indicate “Funds Requested” with the annual tuition amounts requested filled in – NOTE: request actual anticipated tuition costs
  • The DHHS Additional Certification form must be signed by the fellow and uploaded to the PAF
  • Diversity fellowships (F31) require that a letter certifying the eligibility of the applicant for the program be included on institutional letterhead with signature
  • A cover letter is required - see "Cover Letter" below
  • Cross-check that the ‘Activities Planned Under this Award’ line up with the ‘Sponsor and Co-Sponsor Information’
  • Be sure to read the instructions for the institute you are submitting to
  • Confirm the applicant’s Biosketch is in fellowship format
  • Ensure all of the necessary attachments are present
  • Make sure your referees submit their letters to the Commons prior to the deadline

Additional Resources

The NIH’s Table of Page Limits notes by activity code what the page limits are for each of those documents where page limits are enforced.

The SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide for NIH and AHRQ details everything you need to know about filling out the application form pages

Institutional Training Grant (T) Specifics

Institutional Research Training Grants, or T Awards, are subject to the general guidelines of the Program Announcement (PA). However, certain mechanisms may only be offered by specific institutes. The NIH’s T Kiosk page is a resource that may be helpful in detailing requirements for the chosen mechanism/institute. Keep in mind that not all institutes accept applications during each cycle, so please read the FOA carefully and check the T Kiosk page for more information.

There is help available for data tables from the Medical School’s MTrain System. Information on the system and functionality is available here


Grant Services & Analysis provides a list of the components that we need for review. See our Routing Medical School Proposals page for specifics.

Key things to keep in mind:

Faculty effort

  • The proposal will be reviewed for individuals who are stated as contributing to the administrative structure of the T. Those individuals should be paid from the Training Grant or cost shared for their effort.
  • For faculty who serve as mentors, it is acceptable to list the potential effort as "5% mentoring effort concurrent with ongoing research." It is not acceptable to list simply as "5% effort" due to cost accounting standards.

Cost Sharing/Institutional Commitments

  • Faculty Effort - any effort listed for the PI and/or other faculty (Directors/Co-Directors) should be referenced as being covered by the institutional allowance OR listed as cost sharing on the PAF.
  • Read through the proposal sections of Program Administration and Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training looking for references to less obvious 'commitments'.


  • Stipends - current NRSA stipend levels must be used
  • Tuition and Fees - needs to be itemized in both the budget and justification (ex. Michigan Resident (in-state) v. Non-Michigan Resident (out-of-state) rates)
    • Remember - any shortfall that will be covered by Rackham (Dept ID 493000) must be noted as an Other Institutional Commitment on the PAF and may have a letter of support to accompany the proposal submission. Rackham will only commit to cover the shortfall IF they approve the PAF prior to submission.
  • Health Insurance - is considered part of Training Related Expense distribution and is not requested separately in the budget
  • Indirect Cost Rate = 8%

Data Tables

  • Consult the NRSA Data Tables Instructions for details of the required information
  • Keep in mind the faculty listed in table 2 should be the same faculty listed in table 4
  • If a person has no grant support they should still be listed, stating "none"


  • Consult the NRSA specific section of the NIH SF424 Instructions for more specific instructions pertaining to institutional training grants.
  • Some documents have page limits - double check all page limits prior to finalizing
  • If the proposed budget includes direct costs equal to or greater than $500K in any given budget period, prior approval from the NIH must be obtained six weeks prior to submission (NOT-OD-02-004).


  • The NIH’s Table of Page Limits notes by activity code what the page limits are for each of those documents where page limits are enforced.

Cover Letters

The NIH encourages applicants to include a cover letter with their application. The letter serves as a direct communication between the Principal Investigator (PI) and the Center for Scientific Review (CSR). It provides the PI with a chance to communicate key administrative information or place a request. All PIs are encouraged to use.

Every letter should routinely include:

  1. Application title
  2. Funding Opportunity Number & Title (PA/PAR/RFA)

Additionally, the PI should include any of the following information that is applicable:

  • Specific Request of Assignment – if you would like it to go to a specific institute/scientific review group, this request bypasses the triage and assignment done at CSR.
  • List of individuals that you are not comfortable having on the review panel. You must also address why for consideration.
  • Disciplines involved, if multidisciplinary
  • Explanation of any subcontract budget components that are not active for all budget periods (optional)
  • A statement that you have attached required approval documentation for the type of application being submitted (e.g. direct annual budgets exceeding $500,000) – and append the approval to the cover letter
  • List of Referees including name, departmental affiliation, and institution for K/Career Development Awards
  • If you have a late submission, circumstances surrounding the late submission, including:
    • Continuous Submission - if you are submitting under continuous submission this must be referenced (note: a list of those individuals eligible to submit under continuous submission can be found by clicking the link above)
    • Special Review Panel - if you are submitting late because you did a special review this must be stated along with the dates of service to the review
    • Change/Corrected Application (meaning it was submitted and pulled back then resubmitted after the deadline) - the exact same cover letter as was submitted in the original application with only the reason for the late change/corrected application added (if no letter was originally submitted, then only the title, funding opportunity, and statement; no additional information may be included)


  • Ensure that the PA referenced in the Cover Letter matches the PA on the Cover Page of the application
  • Confirm that the title referenced in the Cover Letter matches EXACTLY the title on the application Cover Page, as well as the Long Title on the PAF
  • For K/Career Development Awards, make sure the List of Referees in the Cover Letter matches EXACTLY the list uploaded under 'Other Project Information, Item 12' on the SF424

Additional Resources

See the NIH 424 Instructions, for more details on the Cover Letter including the suggested format.

Facilities & Other Resources

This information is used to assess the capability of the organizational resources available to perform the effort proposed. Identify the facilities to be used (Laboratory, Animal, Computer, Office, Clinical, and Other).

Within each of the 6 categories listed above, indicate (as appropriate):

  • Capacities
  • Pertinent capabilities
  • Relative proximity
  • Extent of availability to the project


  • Only describe resources directly applicable to the proposed work
  • If multiple performance sites, describe each site


Scientific Environment Success Statement: Include…

  • How the scientific environment in which the research will be done contributes to the probability of success (e.g., institutional support, physical resources, and intellectual rapport).
  • Discussion of ways in which the proposed studies will benefit from:
    • Unique features of the scientific environment
    • Subject populations
    • Useful collaborative arrangements

Early Stage Investigators:

  • Describe institutional investment in the success of the investigator, e.g., resources for classes, travel, and training.
  • Institutional support such as:
    • Career enrichment programs
    • Assistance and guidance in the supervision of trainees involved with the ESI’s project
    • Availability of organized peer groups
    • Logistical support such as administrative management and oversight and best practices training
    • Financial support such as protected time for research with salary support – NOTE: be cautious as to not create cost sharing by quantifying financial assistance

Biohazards/Dangerous Substances:

  • Describe any special facilities used for working with biohazards or other potentially dangerous substances.

Comment on Specific Room Numbers:

  • When specific room numbers are referenced in the Facilities & Other Resources document, those rooms must then be listed on the PAF. 
  • Since the NIH does not require the inclusion of room numbers it is recommended that they be left off and instead use a description of the square footage or bench space.

Budget Justification

Essentially, the budget justification should explain all of the expenses included in the budget. The requested information varies depending on whether you are using the modular or categorical budget format.


The budget justification accompanying a modular budget should be comprised of three separate documents:

  1. Personnel Justification: List all personnel, including name, role, number of person months devoted to the project (indicate academic, calendar, and/or summer) and activity to be performed on the project. Do not provide individual salary information. Since the modules should be a reasonable estimate of costs allowable, allocable, and appropriate for the proposed project, you must use the current salary cap when estimating the number of modules. No other items should be listed on the Personnel Justification.
  2. Consortium Justification: Provide an estimate of total costs (direct plus facilities and administrative) for each year, rounded to the nearest $1,000. When more than one consortium is involved, provide this estimate for each. List the individuals/organizations with whom consortium or contractual arrangements have been made, along with all personnel, including effort (in person months) and roles on the project. Do not provide individual salary information. Indicate whether the collaborating institution is foreign or domestic. While only the direct cost for a consortium/contractual arrangement is factored into eligibility for using the modular budget format, the total consortium/contractual costs must be included in the overall requested modular direct cost amount.
  3. Additional Narrative Justification: This justification should be included if the requested budget requires any additional justification, such as variations in the number of modules requested, or explanation of exclusions applied to the F&A base calculation.


Use the budget justification to provide the additional information requested in each budget category and any other information the applicant wishes to submit to support the budget request. The following budget categories must be justified, where applicable: equipment, travel, participant/trainee support and other direct cost categories (other expenses). 

When justifying personnel, ensure each participating individual’s name, role, person months devoted to the project (indicate academic, calendar, and/or summer), and activity to be performed are included. 

Include in the justification any significant increases or decreases from the initial year budget. Justify budgets with more than a standard escalation from the initial to the future year(s) of support. Also use this section to explain any exclusions applied to the F&A base calculation.

If the application includes a subaward/consortium budget, a separate budget justification is submitted for that budget.


Fringe Benefits/Inflation: It is acceptable to list the fringe benefit rate used, but not to say that X% was used as it is “University policy.” It is also acceptable to note that an annual X% inflation was used in preparing the budget, but again not that it is “University policy.” The University has no formal policies in place regarding neither the fringe benefit rate to be used nor the inclusion of inflation.

0 Calendar Months: When listing consultants in the budget justification people sometimes note “0 calendar months” as the effort of the consultant. While we understand the effort of the individual may be minimal, we advise against listing “0 calendar months.” The listed activity to be performed for the project/role generally insinuates some, although small, portion of effort. Therefore, from an effort reporting compliance perspective listing 0 calendar months isn’t necessarily accurate. As an alternative we suggest leaving this field blank for those consultants or to list that the consultant is “unpaid.”

GSRAs: When listing GSRAs sometimes the salary requested on the budget may appear incorrect, even when it is accurate. The following sentence may be added to the justification for clarification:

  • “GSRAs have a .5 FTE appointment at the University and the base salary reflects the reduced appointment.”

In addition to this statement, if the PI feels compelled to explain the employment arrangement in the justification, there are a few options that are approved by the Medical School:

  • “X will devote 6 calendar months, which is equal to full time research effort for a GSRA.”
  • “X will spend his full university appointment, which, under GSRA contract, is 6 calendar months.”
  • “X will devote 100% of her appointment to this project. Under University of Michigan policy, GSRAs are contracted appointments of 6 calendar months.”

For information on budgeting GSRAs see the Frequently Asked Questions section and view “The Budget/Justification Issues" header.

UM/VA Joint Appointments: When justifying faculty with a joint UM/VA appointment follow the instructions below:

  1. Indicate the months proposed. (# of months at the UM as reflected on the MoU worksheet * % of University Effort) Example: 3 months at the UM * 50% UM effort = 1.5 calendar months
  2. Indicate that there is a joint appointment with the VA, but all effort charged to the proposal comes from the University of Michigan (you may have additional time from the VA appointment reflected and no dollars recovered).
  3. Indicate that a Memorandum of Understanding is on file.

Example language to use: “Dr. X will have 1.5 months devoted to this project. He also has a VA appointment, however all effort on this project will be from the University appointment. A MoU is on file describing the relationship.”

Consortium/Contractual Arrangements (SubKs)

When a subcontract is included the “Consortium/Contractual Arrangements” must be attached to the SF424. The NIH states that this document should explain the programmatic, fiscal, and administrative arrangements to be made between the applicant organization and the consortium organization(s) (otherwise known as the subrecipient(s)).

Further, the University requires specific information as well. The University prefers the use of the “Letter of Commitment to Establish a Subrecipient Agreement” form, as this form captures all of the information the University needs to see. This form should be completed and uploaded to the PAF in the subcontracts section. **This form can also be used to fulfill the NIH Consortium/Contractual Arrangements document requirement**

However, at a minimum the following must be uploaded to the PAF in the subcontracts section in order to submit an application:

  • PHS Face Page (printed and signed) AND
    • Inclusion of language similar to the UM form in a cover letter, institutionally signed, OR
    • A separate statement from an institutional official by email, OR
    • Certification of inclusion in the Federal Demonstration Partnership Clearinghouse

Further, when submitting a categorical budget a full budget and justification will need to be obtained from the subcontract sites.

We also recommend that you ask for the following as a best practice for good and orderly work and to make the process of issuing the award easier:

  • Biosketch for all Key Personnel for their site
  • Facilities & Other Resources
  • Budget (even if not sent to the sponsor – to provide a basis of negotiation at the time of award)
  • Budget Justification
  • Copy of their F&A Negotiated Rate OR a link to their website (in case questions come up)

Lastly, if consortium/contractual activities represent a significant portion of the overall project, it must also be explained as to why the applicant organization, rather than the ultimate performer of the activities, should be the grantee. The explanation should also be uploaded to the Consortium/Contractual Arrangements field on the SF424.

Multiple PI Leadership Plan

Multiple PI Leadership Plans should address the following administrative processes and PI responsibilities:

  • Roles/areas of responsibility of the PIs
  • Fiscal and management coordination
  • Process for making decisions on scientific direction and allocation of resources
  • Data sharing and communication among investigators
  • Publication and intellectual property (if needed) policies
  • Procedures for resolving conflicts

Please note, the NIH does not recognize the term “Co-PI,” so please ensure that it is not referenced in this document.

For more information on this document visit the NIH’s website where you can also find acceptable examples.


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A list of Grant Services & Analysis is available in the Personnel Directory.