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Grants & You Summer 2021: News & Updates

Think: How will clinical trials change following COVID?

A researcher in a lab scans lab equipment

In the US, a number of clinical trials were able to proceed despite initial challenges presented by the pandemic by changing longstanding practices. Moving forward, there is growing consensus these changes should be implemented more permanently. Practices adopted in response to the pandemic that would make trials "friendlier" for both patients and staff long term include:

  • Recruiting participants remotely.
  • Reducing travel to trial sites.
  • Shipping medications directly to participants.
  • Reducing unnecessary tests.
  • Reducing in-person visits for overseeing purposes.

For more information, read this AAMC article.

Read: Implementing High-Quality Primary Care

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently published a new report recommending actionable objectives and strategies for implementing high-quality primary care in the US. Download the free PDF here (must create an account first).

News: NCCIH just released its FY 2021 – 2025 Strategic Plan

With the NCCIH's new strategic plan, the Center is expanding its definition of integrative health to include whole person health that considers not only the biological but also behavioral, social, and environmental domains of health.

The Center has 5 objectives over the next 5 years:

  • Advance fundamental science and methods development.
  • Advance research on the whole person and integration of complementary and conventional care.
  • Foster research on health promotion and restoration, resilience, disease prevention, and symptom management.
  • Enhance the complementary and integrative health research workforce.
  • Provide objective, evidence-based information on complementary and integrative health interventions.

View the plan here.

News: AHRQ revising its policy on Inclusion of Priority Populations in Research

In its revised policy, AHRQ expanded its definition of priority populations to include members of the underserved communities specified in Section 2(a) of Executive Order 139895 issued January 20, 2021. The new definition encompasses:

  • Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and other persons of color;
  • members of religious minorities;
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons;
  • persons with disabilities;
  • persons who live in rural areas; and
  • persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.

Webinars covered by Sponsored Programs in Spring 2021

Sponsored Programs routinely covers webinars on a wide range of topics tied to ATSU's strategic priorities and is happy to share key takeaways. Summaries of these webinars are available from Sponsored Programs staff upon request (

Date Organization Webinar
March 23 Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Virtual Briefing: COVID-19 and the Future of Telehealth
March 31 Missouri Foundation for Health Messaging to Missourians about the COVID-19 Vaccine
March 31 Primary Care Collaborative Innovations in Integrating Oral Health into Primary Care
April 15 A.T. Still University College of Graduate Health Studies Addressing Wellness in Rural Populations: Challenges and Opportunities for the Rural Health Landscape
May 13 Primary Care Collaborative The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s New Report on Primary Care: Recommendations and Reactions

Now Available: Updated NIH-wide strategic plan for COVID-19 research

NIH recently released an updated Strategic Plan for COVID-19 Research (PDF). Learn more at the NIH COVID-19 website.

In its support of COVID-19 research, NIH is guided by 5 key priorities:

  1. Improve fundamental knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 disease progression, outcomes, and recovery.
  2. Advance research to improve detection by developing and validating new assays and retooling existing diagnostic platforms.
  3. Support research to advance treatment by evaluating new or repurposing existing treatments and defining implementation strategies.
  4. Accelerate research to improve prevention by developing vaccines, other methods to prevent transmission, and implementation models.
  5. Prevent and redress poor COVID-19 outcomes in health disparity and vulnerable populations.

Fast Facts: FY 2020 NIH grants data

Extramural investments in research

In FY 2020, NIH received $41.6 billion in total appropriations from Congress.

Of this amount, $30.8 billion (4.4% increase over FY 2019) went to 56,169 (2.1% increase over FY 2019) new and renewed meritorious extramural grants.

2,650 organizations throughout the US and internationally received awards.

For more statistics on R01-equivalent grants, read this blog post by Mike Lauer, MD, NIH deputy director for extramural research.

How many researchers were funded?

The “cumulative investigator rate” is a person-based metric that captures the likelihood that unique investigators are funded over a 5-year period.

In FY 2020, the cumulative investigator rate for research project grants was 38.3%.

34,477 awardees (3.5% increase over FY 2019)

89,957 unique applicants (1.4% increase over FY 2019)

Figure 1 shows a combined bar and line graph with applicants, awardees, and the Cumulative Investigator Rate for RPGs over time. The X axis is fiscal years 2003 to 2020, while the Y axis is either the absolute number for applicants and awardees or a percent for the Cumulative Investigator Rate from 0 to 100. Awardees, applicants, and the Cumulative Investigator Rate are shown in separate dark blue columns, light blue columns, and red lines, respectively.

Check out this post for statistics on R01-equivalent, P01, and R21 grants.

News: Updated NIH biosketch pages available now

Please be aware use of the new biosketch and other support format pages and instructions are preferred immediately but required for application due dates on or after January 25, 2022.

Send any questions related to changes to the biosketch and other support templates to the new, dedicated central email inbox at

Reminder: NIH requirements for reporting human study participant data

In annual progress reports, NIH awardees are required to report individual-level study participant data on:

  1. Sex/Gender
  2. Race
  3. Ethnicity
  4. Age at Enrollment

Data must be de-identified and submitted using the required template file.

Reminder: “Flatten” PDFs before uploading to eRA Commons

PDFs that have fillable fields, electronic signatures, text boxes, or images, contain multiple layers. Flattening a PDF merges separate elements into one flat layer. For submissions on or after May 25, 2021, PDFs in the following sections are now required to be flattened for upload to eRA Commons:

  • Just-in-Time: Other Support File section
  • Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR):
    • Participants section D.2.b New Senior/Key Personnel
    • Participants section D.2.c Changes in Other Support

See here for instructions on how to flatten a PDF.