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Proceeding with caution in the CR: New interim pay lines for FY 2021

Dr. Ken Santora
Kenneth SANTORA,
Division of Extramural Activities (DEA)

It’s officially fall and though the days sometimes blur together while working remotely, NIA remains focused on the future. That means doing our best to estimate interim budgets and pay lines going into fiscal year (FY) 2021.

Currently, congressional appropriations remain in a continuing resolution (CR) status, which makes it difficult this year to forecast the future of our budget. Right now, the CR extends through December 11. With that in mind, NIA has decided the most prudent course is to be conservative until the forthcoming budget picture becomes clearer. We have determined some interim pay lines while we wait, but we also want to emphasize that we intend to update them (hopefully for the better) once we have a full FY 2021 budget.

Recommendations reflect the CR reality

In the tables below, you’ll see our interim pay lines covering the period we’re in under the CR. While awaiting clarity on a full budget, we are dialing back the pay lines for CSR-reviewed research applications by 3% each from their previous FY 2020 levels. For NIA-reviewed applications, the general pay line for program projects and other NIA-reviewed research will be reduced by five points. Certain Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD) program announcements (PAR) pay lines — recall these pay lines are set by score, not percentile (see the NIA FY 2021 interim funding policy webpage for list of applicable PAR announcements) — will be cut by three points to 37 for both program projects and other NIA-reviewed research.

Interim pay lines at the CR funding level*

CSR-reviewed Research Applications


General pay line, <500k

General pay line, ≥$500k

ADRD pay line, <$500k

All (except below)




New investigator R01s




Early Stage Investigator R01s





NIA-reviewed Research Applications


General pay line

ADRD pay line

Program projects



Other NIA-reviewed research



Parent career development awards



Parent fellowship awards



*Note: These pay lines are temporary until NIA receives its final budget.

For complete details on these updated interim pay lines, visit NIA's Interim Funding Policy for FY 2021 webpage.

Hope for sunshine, but carry an umbrella

NIA again wants to emphasize that we hope these new numbers will only be temporary as the budget picture comes into focus. We want to be as transparent as possible by providing the research community with our best estimates based on the information at hand. So, think of this as the budgetary equivalent of packing an umbrella: While the skies may seem bleak at the moment, we hope for bluer (or at least clearer) funding skies ahead.

As we often say at “Inside NIA,” the big take-home message is to contact your program officer. These dedicated staff are the best sources for expert information about what is best for your individual application. Thank you for your continued patience as NIA does its best to plan ahead and remain open to your questions and concerns.

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