The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will introduce new guidelines in January 2009 allowing biomedical researchers to amend and resubmit a failed funding application only once, as part of an overhaul of the peer-review system for evaluating grant proosals (see Nature 455, 841; 2008). Applicants whose grants are unfunded after the second submission may reapply only after designing a new proposal. NIH has previously suggested not allowing resubmissions, but decided against this step after an outcry from researchers (see Nature 453, 835; 2008).
NIH estimates that the move will reduce the number of applications by up to 5,000 — welcome news as it struggles to evaluate about 55,000 applications this year. In 2007, only about 30% of awards were granted to first-time submissions.
According to a comment to the Nature News story by Jeremy Green, in the current UK funding system, the research councils and the Wellcome Trust operate a no re-submission policy, although depending on the subject area an applicant might be able to submit a proposal rejected by one funder to the others. However, applicants to the research councils do get an opportunity before the grant review panel sits to see and respond to the reviewers’ comments.