Two days after the government's 16-day closure came to an end, the NIH announced that it would delay the final approval of grant applications submitted in fall 2013 until spring 2014. Two days after that, the NIH changed its mind again, announcing that it would "now reschedule most of the 200+ missed peer review meetings so that most applications are able to be considered at January 2014 Council meetings."
Explaining the change in policy, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Sally Rockey wrote on her blog that NIH staff had "heard from many of you since Friday, expressing significant concerns regarding delaying the review of applications to the May council round due to the Government shutdown. Applicants faced with a four-month delay in a funding decision described serious consequences to their research programs."
Rockey continued, "Additionally, many reviewers contacted us saying they are ready and willing to do anything to get these reviews done. In light of this feedback, our review staff have risen to the challenge, and will be working with reviewers to go the extra mile in exceptionally creative ways to reschedule as many of the 200+ missed October review meetings as possible."
Now it will be up to the members of the NIH extramural community to answer the call when the NIH contacts them asking for help with the backlog of applications that built up during the shutdown. ASCBers, are you listening?