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African scientists urged to heed changes to NIH funding


Failure to comply could disqualify applications

African researchers could be affected by changes in grant management and applications being introduced by the United States’ National Institutes of Health.

Changes cover the “biosketches” that all senior members of a project must submit to justify their suitability, and details required in “other support” documents, including breakdowns of all other funding sources.

It is the second of those changes that will require the most attention from South African researchers funded by the NIH, according to Sue Harrison, the University of Cape Town’s deputy vice-chancellor for research. The university will hold information sessions to inform researchers about the “critical changes”, she said in a note to staff on 28 June.

The changes came into effect on 25 May and researchers currently funded by the NIH have until 25 January 2022 to comply.

“Grant holders and applicants need to start preparing for these changes already. Failure to meet the new requirements may cause the NIH to withdraw your application from consideration,” said Harrison.

Senior personnel and significant contributors to a project must submit a personal statement of their suitability, a reverse chronological list of all positions, appointments and honours, and a breakdown of scholastic performance.

Greater details of other sources of funding are required, as well as more information about support given to the project and the researchers involved.