New NIH policies for FY 2012 salary caps and stipends

The NIH has issued new policies for FY 2012 regarding salary caps and stipends. There is also an update to the fiscal policy. This article highlights these changes and provides links to the relevant NIH documents.

Salary Cap
On December 23, 2011 a new Congressional Appropriation Bill was passed and signed by the President – Public Law 112-74. This appropriation affects several aspects of NIH’s funding of their Grants and Cooperative Agreements. Specifically, this change affects NIH awards made with Federal FY2012 funds, reducing the current salary cap from Executive Level I ($199,700 in 2011) to Executive Level II (currently $179,700).

On January 20, 2012 NIH published their new policy “NOT-OD-12-035 Notice of Salary Limitation on Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts” for funding under that appropriation. This is the complete notice for the 2012 salary cap change.


 When the The following will apply:
issue date is on or
before December 22, 2011
The FY 2012 award will remain at the $199,700 salary cap and the following years will be adjusted downward to the $179,700 cap or the cap in effect when the new non-competing renewal is issued.
initial issue date is
on or after December 23

The $179,700 salary cap will apply.
If the award is a new or competing award, NIH will issue a revised NOA, adjusting the award and the following years to reflect the new salary cap.

award is a
non-competing renewal

initial issue date is
on or after December 23
The new cap applies but NIH will not adjust the award.
PIs may re-budget the “funds freed as a result of the lower cap” into other budget categories. Future non-competing renewals, however, will be at the salary cap of Executive Level II in effect at the issue date of the renewal.

The NIH list of all salary caps is available at NIH page listing of Historical Summary of Salary Caps.

Stipends and Tuition

NIH has provided a new Stipend/Tuition/Fee policy for postdoc and graduate students on Federal FY 2012 Kirschstein-NRSA awards – i.e. issued on or after Oct. 1, 2011. This notice, titled “Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees and Other Budgetary Levels Effective for Fiscal Year 2012”, (NOT-OD-12-033), covers the following topics:

  • Tuition, fees and training-related expenses for trainees and institutional allowances for Fellows remain unchanged.
  • For awards made with FY 2012 funds the new stipend levels will provide approximately a 2% increase.
  • The revised awards from NIH for FY 2012 will reflect the new, revised stipends. Although trainees may already be appointed at previous stipend rates, the MIT DLC needs to update the stipends being paid to the appointed trainees so they are paid at the new rate.
  • Note that the zero-level Postdoc Stipend is now $39,264. Use this level stipend to calculate the graduate student compensation package allowed by NIH.

Update to NIH Fiscal Policy for FY 2012
Finally, the NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards - FY 2012 (Notice NOT-OD-12-036) has changed to reflect the less than 1% increase in the appropriated budget for NIH.

  • Awards already issued in FY2012 (those issued Oct. 1, 2012 and after) will be revised to adjust the award and future year commitment level(s) downward to reflect this policy.
  • Non-competing FY 2012 renewal awards will be funded with no cost of living/inflationary increase adjustments.
  • All competing and non-competing research awards issued in FY 2012 will be issued with no inflationary increase.

Please contact your OSP representative if you have questions about any of the policy changes described in this article.