The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new policy to provide an additional layer of review for research proposals from principal investigators with more than $1 million in annual support from the agency.

Proposals from grantees who receive more than $1 million in direct costs from NIH will be subject to additional consideration by the Institute and Center Advisory Councils. “In assessing these applications, Council will be asked to recommend consideration of funding for applications that afford a unique opportunity to advance research which is both highly promising and distinct from the other funded projects from the PD/PI [Program Director/Principal Investigator],” according to the new policy. The recommendations also recognize that certain types of research require higher levels of support, such as clinical trials.

NIH had previously considered a threshold of $1.5 million in total annual costs, but ultimately decided to change the limit. About 80 grants will be reviewed in September are be subject to the $1 million cutoff. NIH estimates that less than 1 percent of all proposals will be subject to the extra review.

The announcement from NIH stated that the policy “does not represent a cap on NIH funding.” However, the policy was originally proposed as part of an effort to stretch NIH’s budget. It is uncertain how much funding the policy could free up for other researchers.


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