News

ITCR Granted Exception to URL and Hyperlink Restrictions in Funding Applications

NIH policy typically discourages the use of hyperlinked content and URLs in submitted applications. Links can be problematic because they can make it difficult to maintain anonymity during the review process, may pose potential security risks from malware, and could lead to overstuffed applications and uneven evaluations.

The requirement, however, has been especially challenging for people working in the bioinformatics and information technology fields, as applicants are not able to link directly to informatics-related applications, tools, and software documentation.

Recognizing this limitation, the Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) program has recently been granted an exception to the restriction on hyperlinks. Moving forward, ITCR funding opportunities will include the following language, permitting the use of URLs and hyperlinks in applications:

  • For R21 and competitive revision applications, “URLs of publicly available websites may be cited for the purpose of referencing the existing software or code that is the subject of the proposed research.”
  • For U01s and U24s, “URLs of publicly available websites may be cited for the purpose of referencing the existing software or code that is the subject of the proposed research or for the purpose of demonstrating dissemination and outreach activities.”