Few things are as frustrating as writing a great grant that is not funded because the funding percentile is so low–and then having to figure out how to drastically revise it to meet the requirement of writing a “new” application. Effective now, that pain point is going away: As of April 17, 2014, the NIH and AHRQ no longer require new (A0) grant applications to demonstrate significant changes in scientific direction, even if the project was not funded during resubmission (A1). That is, if your project doesn’t get funded after the second try, you no longer need to ditch it and come up with something completely different.
If you are submitting a project as a new (A0) application, you will not be able to explicitly respond to reviewer comments, and reviewers will be instructed to respond to it as a new idea. However, the NIH recommends that applicants take advantage of reviewer comments and use them to make their applications stronger.
Duplicate or overlapping applications are still not accepted. View NOT-OD-14-074 for more information, and check out what Sally Rockey has to say. In the meantime, we will be mulling over the implications of this change. Stay tuned!