Responding to an outcry from researchers, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has revised its plan to delay more than 200 grant application review meetings canceled by the 1 to 16 October government shutdown. Many scientists had expressed concerns about delaying the reviews to February and March, which would have meant final review by institute councils in May rather than January. The 4-month delay could doom some labs that were depending on that funding, they argued.
Late yesterday, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Sally Rockey announced on her blog that after hearing from many applicants—as well as reviewers “willing to do anything” to move faster—NIH will now try to schedule most meetings in time for the January council meetings. “[O]ur review staff have risen to the challenge, and will be working with reviewers to go the extra mile in exceptionally creative ways,” she wrote.