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New Reproducibility Requirements and Other Changes for NIH, AHRQ Grant Applications

October 16, 2015—The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Oct. 13 released multiple notices regarding forthcoming changes to policies, instructions, and forms for grant applications starting in calendar year 2016.

At the center of these changes are efforts to enhance reproducibility in NIH-supported research through rigor and transparency, which the NIH first announced in June [see Washington Highlights, June 12]. Applicants for research grants and career development awards will have to describe how their research design and methods will achieve robust and unbiased results, and incorporate relevant biological variables, like sex. For example, strong justification must be provided for applications proposing experiments using only male mice.

Applications must also address a new requirement to ensure the identity and validity of key biological and/or chemical resources used in the proposed studies. These revised requirements emphasizing a strong scientific premise and rigorous research approach will also extend to the peer review process and progress reports, which will help the NIH in its evaluation of any new policies. 

Among the other announcements are changes to the research training data table format, and updated policies for vertebrate animal use and clinical research. For a full list of updates and a timeline for the implementation of policy and guidance changes, see NOT-OD-16-004.


Anurupa Dev, Ph.D.
Lead Specialist, Science Policy
Telephone: 202-862-6048


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Telephone: 202-903-0806