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April budget updates: Adjusted pay lines and escalation policy

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

As promised in my previous budget and pay lines update, NIA has some expected adjustments in both our general allocation and Alzheimer’s disease allocation pay line categories for fiscal year 2023 to share. Read on for more information, including a reminder about the NIA Budget Escalation Policy for inflationary increases.

Updates to our FY 2023 funding policy

NIA is now reducing FY 2023 General Allocation competing awards by 16% on average.

This means that our General Allocation pay line is reducing previous cuts by 2% from the original 18%. This reduced cut means an average 2% increase in the awarded funding level compared to the policy update from earlier this year.

Some fine print: This average cut policy covers all research project awards except R03s (small grants), R21s (exploratory/developmental awards), and R15s (Academic Research Enhancement Awards and the NIH Research Enhancement Awards program), all of which generally receive the study-section-recommended amount of support. Early Stage and New Investigators will not receive the reduction and will also receive the study-section-recommended support amount.

NIA’s Alzheimer’s allocation pay line will provide awards at their full study section-recommended amounts unless there are concerns about overlap or similar issues which would require a reduction. NIA increased our pay line for Alzheimer’s P01 and NIA-reviewed applications from 30 to 35. We increased our pay line for general parent career development awards from 18 to 24.

NIA-reviewed Research Applications (Overall Impact Score Based)


General pay line

AD/ADRD pay line

Program projects



Other NIA-reviewed research



Parent career development awards



Parent fellowship awards



Please remember that under some rare circumstances, NIA does make pay line exceptions. For example, if peer review flags a significant scientific concern that weakens the case for an award, we may instead provide short-term support (R56) or invite resubmission of an application. Similarly, a small number of applications focused on NIA’s high priorities may receive awards beyond the pay lines.

As always, please bookmark our funding policy webpage for full details on these changes.

Caution on cost escalations

While inflation has impacted the global economy in various ways, I want to underscore an important cautionary reminder on the NIA Budget Escalation Policy. Our policy does not permit inflationary increases for future year commitments, such as salary escalations for team members providing the same effort from the previous budget year’s request, regardless of the reason. This applies to other costs categories as well, such as supplies and travel. Any noninflationary reason for year-to-year increases within a budget category should be clearly outlined in the budget justification.

Keep in touch with your program officers

NIA program officers are expert advisors for any questions about applications. Please keep following this blog for important updates, and as always, we welcome comments and questions below!

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