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Home No. 4: Same Project to NIH and Foundations: Know Your Disclosure Rules

Apr 06

No. 4: Same Project to NIH and Foundations: Know Your Disclosure Rules

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Same Project to NIH and Foundations: Know Your Disclosure Rules

Reader question: If I apply to NIH and a few foundations to seek funding for my proposal related to a potentially new cancer treatment, should I reveal this to any or all of the potential funding agencies? Or should I wait to see who actually offers me money before I say anything?

Expert Comments:

Each funding source has its own requirements. For the public sector — including NIH — examine the published opportunity, such as the Program Announcement, and the guidance in the Funding Opportunity, the Solicitation or the Request For Proposal.

NIH wants to know if you’re submitting similar proposals to other federal agencies, but typically doesn’t care if you submit your unfunded proposal to a foundation or other private-sector supporter.

Essentially, if you’re submitting to multiple federal agencies, NIH does not want to fund essentially equivalent projects because this wastes federal money, resources and time. So you should be upfront with NIH about duplicate federal submissions. Otherwise, you may run the risk of having a potential project rejected.

For the private sector, you should review the funding sources’ guidelines. In fact, foundations frequently will state that you must submit a list of potential funding sources . They may also want to know the requested amounts — mainly because few private-sector organizations want to be the sole monetary source.

Foundations also like to see that other organizations have already awarded a portion of the project. This shows that your project already has some “buy-in.” But if the guidelines do not require such a list, then you are under no obligation to provide one. Still, you could mention in the proposal that you are seeking multiple funding sources.

Expert comments by Shirley Nelson, MA, MPH, managing owner of Grant Strategies, LLC, grantstrategies.com in Rochester, Minn.

Comments (2)
written by James E. Lewis, PhD, April 06, 2011
As a general rule, it is permissible to submit the same application to multiple sponsors, Federal or otherwise, what is absolutely not permitted is to accept awards from more than one sponsor for the same proposed project. The key word is "same." Related but different projects on the same overall theme are clearly not the "same," but it is logical in each application to lay out the whole research schema so that reviewers can see where each component fits and how it is related to the others.

It may be reasonable and appropriate to submit relatively free-standing components of a Program Project or other multi-investigator, multi-project application separately and simultaneously, perhaps even to the same funding agency. Again, acceptance of more than one award for the same project is forbidden.
Professor of Psychology
written by Miguel Roig, April 08, 2011
I have to wonder about one possible implication of submitting exactly the same application to multiple agencies. Let's say that more than one agency approves your grant and that, as James points out, you are now obligated to decline one of the awards which happens to be from a federal agencies. Does that agency now redirect these funds to the next high-scoring proposal that was not originally funded? Perhaps I am mistaken, but my sense is that federal agencies do not generally operate in this manner. If I am correct, then it seems to me that there is an element of unfairness when the above scenario occurs and a proposal who would otherwise get funded does not because an investigator wanted to play it safe.

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