NIH Flexibilities due to COVID-19

1. NIH Late Application Policy

Due to Public Health Emergency for United States for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If submission is delayed because the organization is closed or unable to continue activities due to the outbreak, the NIH will consider late applications under the following conditions:

  • Applications must be submitted at the earliest possible opportunity once activities resume.
  • Organizations must include a letter with the application detailing the reasons for the delay so that the NIH can determine if conditions justify late acceptance of the application.
  • Organizations do not need to request consent in advance for late submissions due to the outbreak.

2. Flexibilities Available to Applicants and Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance Affected by COVID-19

The NIH is also providing administrative flexibilities for NIH grant applicants and recipients affected by COVID-19. These entities will be asked to provide documentation to the NIH regarding the extent of these effects.

The following details flexibilities offered by the NIH during this time:

  • Pre-award costs can be incurred from January 20, 2020 through the public health emergency and prior to the date of a federal award for all applicants and recipients that have been affected by COVID-19.
  • The NIH will accept late Research Progress Performance Reports (RPPR) but will delay in issuing awards until they are received and accepted. Contact the program official to let them know the reports will be late.
  • Recipients not under Streamlined Non-competing Application Process (SNAP) can carry on unobligated balances on their active grants to support activities related to or affected by COVID-19 as long as the charges are allowable and within the scope of the original award.
  • Active non-SNAP grant projects may extend the final budget period on active grants once for a period of up to 12 months without requesting prior approval, by notifying the assigned grants management specialist.
  • If a recipient organization’s policy continues to pay salaries during no work periods due to the effect of COVID-19, then charges to NIH grant awards will be allowable. Institutions may continue to provide stipends to fellows who may be unable to work as a result of or related to COVID-19. Recipients should notify the assigned grants management official, and provide documentation on the effect of COVID-19.
  • Non-refundable costs associated with grant-related travel, conferences, or scientific meetings supported by the NIH that have been cancelled due to COVID-19 may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable. As this Public Health Emergency continues, recipients may identify additional cost-related flexibilities that are needed. The NIH will consider them on a case-by-case basis.

3. Guidance for NIH-funded Clinical Trials and Human Subjects Studies Affected by COVID-19

For grant recipients only

The NIH is committed to working with its recipients during this time and has provided guidance outlining the flexibilities available to recipients conducting NIH-funded Clinical Trials and Human Subject Studies. Recipients will likely encounter delays to ongoing research based on the effects of COVID-19. As outlined earlier, they may submit late financial and progress reports in this case, and may also extend the final budget period of the approved project on active grants one time for up to 12 months without requesting prior approval from NIH. Recipients should contact the awarding Institute or Center to provide details on the effects of COVID-19, and the need for an extension. The NIH will also consider unanticipated costs related to the outbreak, and will provide administrative supplements on a case by case basis.

Additional FAQs related to submission and awards during COVID-19