As I discussed in a prior post, the NIH used to permit PIs to submit additional materials in support of their application between submission and review. This policy was formalized at one point and perhaps I should have given more consideration to a suspicion that some of that formalization reflected annoyance on the part of the SROs.
Well, those days are over. A Notice (NOT-OD-10-115) in the NIH Guide informs us that while some administrative things can still be updated, these cannot:
Unacceptable post-submission materials (for all applications except those listed under Exceptions below) include:
* Updated Specific Aims or Research Strategy pages
* Late-breaking research findings
* New letters of support or collaboration that do not result from a change in senior/key personnel due to the hiring, replacement, or loss of an investigator
( Interestingly these items are still allowed for submissions for RFAs which have only a single receipt date. )
Impact? As always, hard to say. First of all, not everyone submits an update..IME on study section it was a small minority. Less than 10%? I've taken advantage of this policy on probably less than 20% of my applications...and probably fewer. Then you have to think about whether such updates have a meaningful effect on the review of the proposal, I would doubt it is a high number.
However. It seems inevitable to me that IF someone is going to get a boost from submitting work in progress in the 3-4 month interval between submission and review, it will be the most junior investigators who are just starting to get their labs up and running. So I think this policy is a BadThing.
And, oh, NIH? As usual, your policy changes would go down a heck of a lot easier with some simple data. What fraction of applications are supplemented with additional data? Of these, what is the success rate compared with the success rate of unsupplemented applications? Do these numbers differ between newer and more established investigators?