NIH Posts Assurance that Blizzard Won’t Affect Applications

February 4, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

snow-bird-1398432Sometimes when you are souring the grants news landscape, you run across an unexpected headline that you just makes you chuckle. The most recent example was on the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Extramural Research blog, Extramural Nexus.

In case you live on the West Coast and didn’t hear, much of the East Coast was pummeled with a huge snowstorm that brought up to three feet of snow in some places in the mid-Atlantic and two feet or more here in the Washington, D.C. area. Many schools in the region were out an entire week, and federal agencies were not operating on their normal schedules. This lead to the following headline from the NIH blog: “A Blizzard Ate My Application! What Can I Do?”

Oh, no! So how did NIH respond? It replied that NIH has “a standing natural disaster policy that can protect you in the event a natural disaster such as a hurricane or blizzard closes your institution close to an application due date.”  It went on to say that NIH periodically issues reminder notices in light of inclement weather, such as the recent East Coast snowstorm, “but even if we don’t issue a notice, the policy is still there to protect you from missing your deadline. If your institution closes due to an emergency, keeping you from being able to get your application in on time, document the reason in the cover letter of your application. Keep in mind that the delay in the submission should not exceed the time period of your institution’s closure. Reasons for late applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and no one at NIH can grant permission in advance for a late application.”

Personally, I would be glad if I never saw another flake of snow, but it’s good to know at least that NIH has policies to address weather-related emergencies such as the one we recently had. Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

Let us know if you’ve had an instance where an application was hampered by a snowstorm or other weather-related emergency. We’d love to hear from you.

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