Appendices 2017: Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200.

With the major November NIH deadlines about to pass us by, many will turn their attention to their 2017 submissions.  As you pursue your application strategies, chances are you’re considering the use of an appendix to bolster your argument for funding.  Proceed with caution: the appendix rules for 2017 are not what they once were.


The only allowable appendix materials in 2017 are:

  • Blank informed consent/assent forms
  • Blank surveys, questionnaires, data collection instruments
  • Funding opportunity announcement-specified items

Clinical trial applications may also include clinical trial protocols and/or investigator’s brochures from Investigational New Drug (IND), as appropriate.


Note that the revision of allowable appendix material has significantly reduced inclusion potential.  If you weren’t sure before whether you could submit that manuscript, good news: under the new rules, you definitely cannot!  No manuscripts allowed!


This announcement was made via NOT in August (check out the full text of NOT-OD-129). The penalties for submitting out-of-bounds material is withdrawal and non-review.  Ouch.   If you have questions about what this change means, or how it may affect your application, give us a shout and we’ll help you talk through it.

You May Need an Appendectomy

Strictly-speaking, we’re speaking of the removal of information in a document appendix, of course. The “Appendices” section of the SF424 cannot be used to get around the page limits of other sections (the most popular? Research Strategy, which is limited to 12 pages for an R01 in case you’re counting along).  Information that *is* allowed as appendices includes:

  •   Up to 3 of the following types of publications (any exceptions will be noted in your announcement):
    • Manuscripts and/or abstracts accepted for publication but not yet published
    • Published manuscripts and/or abstracts only when a free, online, publicly available journal link is not available
    • Patents materials directly relevant to the project
  • Surveys, questionnaires, data collection instruments, etc.
  • Clinical protocols
  • Informed consent documents (as necessary)

Information that is NOT allowed in the appendix is:

  • Published manuscripts and/or abstracts that are publicly available in a free, online format
    •  Note: you can reference these in the application, and URLs and PMCID numbers can be included in the References Cited section.  There is no limit on the number of references you can site, but applicants are encouraged to be “both judicious and concise.”
  • Graphic images of gels, micrographs, photographs, etc.  These may be included in your research plan and are therefore subject to the page limit.  The  SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide sets forth guidance as to size and resolution of images that you may include in your plan
    • Note: there are some liberties that may be taken with PAPER SUBMISSIONS ONLY.  If you are planning on submitting via paper application, please contact RAS and we will clarify your latitude.

For more details on what is and is not allowable, check out NOT-OD-07-018.  If you’re unclear on whether your planned appendix is permissible, drop RAS a note; we’ll help you figure it out!