Frequently Asked Questions
This page is designed to answer some of the common questions about NCI's use of funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. These include general questions about how NCI is using ARRA funds as well as specific questions about the grant application process.
- Understanding the ARRA Timeline
- Impact of ARRA on Grant Funding Opportunities
- Reporting Requirements
- Communications about NCI's Use of ARRA Funds
We will update these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) as new information becomes available or new questions are submitted to us. If you don't find an answer to your question on this page, please send us an email.
NIH also provides helpful information for submitting ARRA applications on the NIH ARRA FAQs page. Answers to questions about submitting Challenge Grants and Administrative Supplement and Competitive Revision applications may clarify some of your questions.
- What is the timeline for NCI receiving funds, announcing funding opportunities, and reviewing/awarding grant applications?
NCI has been allocated approximately $1.3 billion for projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Funds that support identified programs must be spent in two years, given the nature of and rationale for ARRA. This requirement accelerates the typical time periods for both announcements and funding processes. Announcements about funding opportunities are posted quickly followed by appropriate review in order to hasten the process of funding applications for programs. See Recovery Act Funding Announcements for a current list of funding opportunities.
- How long will the ARRA stimulus funding be allocated to NCI?
The money is available to NCI until September 30th, 2010. There is no requirement that a certain percentage be obligated in FY 2009 vs. FY 2010.
- What are NCI's criteria for funding new grants with ARRA funds? How will selections be made?
ARRA dictates that NCI should fund programs that preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery, assist those most impacted by the recession, and spur technological advances in science and health that benefit the economy. Working within this guidance, NCI will identify programs that provide the greatest scientific impact in the short term. NCI will select activities based on scientific merit and alignment with ARRA intent.
- Will the stimulus funding impact paylines and result in the funding of grants with higher priority scores?
NCI has increased its payline. For more information see the details ARRA related payline increases at http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/grantspolicies/NCIFundingPolicyARRAforRPGs.htm.
ARRA funding must be kept separate from NCI's appropriated funds. HHS and NIH are working to specify how funds can be spent and reported. In most cases, grants funded under ARRA will be for a maximum of two years. NCI has the option to extend some of those grants beyond two years using NCI appropriated (non-ARRA) funds.
- Are there opportunities for grantees to request funds to supplement existing grants for the purpose of accelerating the tempo of scientific research?
Yes. ARRA funding will provide opportunities for enhancing and augmenting research through administrative and competitive supplements. Please refer to the information on www.cancer.gov/recovery for these opportunities.
- Where can I find more information about ARRA funds allocated to NIH Challenge Grants?
The NIH has identified a range of Challenge Areas that focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. Each NIH Institute, Center, and Office has selected specific Challenge Topics within the broad Challenge Areas related to its mission. The research in these Challenge Areas should have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health. For NCI, high priority topics include Bioethics, Comparative Effectiveness Research, Enabling Technologies, Genomics, Information Technology for Processing Health Care Data for Research, and Translational Science. Applicants can apply to any of the broad challenge areas. For a complete listing of these NCI Challenge Topics, see http://challenge.nci.nih.gov/. For additional information on the full NIH initiative, see the NIH FAQ on Challenge Grants at http://grants.nih.gov/recovery/
- Is it safe to assert that the ARRA funding is in excess of the current appropriated NIH budget?
The ARRA funding is in addition to the current appropriated NIH Budget; however there is no provision to make these funds a permanent increase to the NIH budget beyond FY 2010.
- Will ARRA grant applicants be told their scores and receive summary statements as is done with regular NIH grants funded by annual appropriations?
Applications for ARRA grants will follow the normal NIH review process and applicants will receive their review scores and summary statements like all other NIH competitive grants. However, Administrative Supplement applications under ARRA are considered a post-award, prior approval item so the applicants will only receive a notice of award approval or notice of disapproval by letter.
- Do reporting requirements for ARRA funds apply to existing, non-ARRA funded activities or contracts when a Federal agency supplements those activities with ARRA funds?
Reporting requirements apply to ARRA Funds only and do not extend to existing, non-ARRA funded activities or contracts. In instances where a Federal agency chooses to supplement existing activities or contracts with ARRA funds, only the activities supplemented by ARRA funds are reported. An agency's contracting officer should ensure that expansions to existing contracts are amended to meet the ARRA reporting requirements.
- How will NCI monitor and regularly report progress on its ARRA investments?
It's still unclear exactly how and what NCI will report with regard to ARRA investments. A number of working groups are developing implementation plans and guidance around this issue. We anticipate that, at a minimum, NCI will be required to report data on job creation and retention, scientific advances, and geographic distribution of awards.
- What is the process for communicating decisions about ARRA funding?
Information about ARRA funding will be posted to www.cancer.gov/recovery and updated regularly. The NCI Director will also present updates of decisions in open meetings to advisory boards of the NCI, such as the Board of Scientific Advisors (BSA), the National Cancer Advisory Boards (NCAB), and others. NCI's Office of Media Relations will also communicate ARRA funding decisions to the media.
- Will NCI make available the same information about investments in cancer that the Administration says will be available through Recovery.gov?
The current expectation is that NCI will report its ARRA investments regularly to the Administration and that this information will be made available on www.hhs.gov/recovery. This is in addition to the Administration's website, http://www.recovery.gov.