Announcer: From the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, this is All About Grants.

Megan Columbus: Welcome to another edition of All About Grants. I’m Megan Columbus from NIH’s Office of Extramural Research. In past podcasts, we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about writing a successful grant application. Today, I thought we’d move past that and talk about the types of information that you submit only when it looks like your grant might be funded. We call this “just-in-time” information. I sat down recently with Dave Curren from OER’s Division of Grants Policy to talk more about just-in-time. I first asked him, “Why not just submit everything at the time of application?” Dave explained how by collecting the information later in the application process, NIH is reducing the burden on applicants.

Dave Curren: One problem is that in collecting all this information it can take a lot of time, especially if ultimately that grant application is not funded. These are items that are not peer reviewed, but which are important to us from a grant administration point of view. So you can send us that information once it looks more and more likely that you are going to be receiving funding, or at least have submitted a highly competitive application to us.

Megan: Dave explained that when NIH asks for just-in-time information, the grants management specialist assigned to the application contacts an official at the applicant institution. They may also contact the investigator directly. In general, you will be contacted 2-3 months before an award would be made. You’ll be asked to provide information that may be important in the final administrative review and award of the grant. The items you’d be asked for are information on other sources of research funding (this applies to all the key personnel listed on your application). Information related to your use of animal or human subjects—and that’s approvals from your institutional review board (IRB) or institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC), certification that you completed education requirements, and lastly verification of your institution’s animal or human subjects assurance. We understand that this information both takes time to obtain and is time sensitive, as Dave explains.

Dave: For the IRB and the IACUC what we’re looking for is the approval date of that IRB board or the IACUC committee. Those approvals usually last for a year. And so what we’ve done is, by asking for this information in a just-in-time manner, we’re making sure that the most time is available on that approval, so that we’ll be within the time that we provide funding for the award.

Megan: Because request times vary both on our end and at your institution, you may want to get some of these processes started before just-in-time information is requested. Dave suggests consulting your program officer. 

Dave: They can give you a very good idea, although not a guarantee, of the likelihood of funding. And so if there is a good likelihood of funding, it is important to go ahead and look at what your just-in-time requirements are going to be. If you are going to have some very complex human subjects or animal subjects research, that may take a long time to receive full IRB approval or IACUC approval, so getting started on that as soon as possible will be very helpful, not just to us but to you.

Megan: Make sure to wait though until you are contacted by your awarding NIH institute or center before actually sending in your just-in-time information. You can then send in all the requested information electronically through the eRA Commons. If you have questions, you can contact us at oer@od.nih.gov. Thanks for listening. For NIH and OER, this is Megan Columbus.