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NIAID Glossary of Funding and Policy Terms and Acronyms—P

For Institute program-specific acronyms, go to NIAID Profile and Fact Book.

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Term Definition

See program announcement.


Formerly used term. See Program Officer Checklist.


See program announcement with special receipt, referral and/or review considerations (PAR).

parent FOA

See parent program announcement.

parent program announcement

NIH-wide funding opportunity announcement that enables applicants to submit an investigator-initiated grant application for an activity code, e.g., Research Project Grant (Parent R01).

For any parent program announcement, some institutes may not participate or may not accept applications in all topics. Parent PAs are not initiatives, which stimulate research in a scientific topic. Compare with institute-specific program announcement and request for applications (RFA).

Go to these resources:


See Program Assessment Rating Tool.


Relationship between businesses, based on trust and commitment, to enhance both parties' capabilities.


See program announcement with set-aside funds.


Document issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office containing a description, specification, and claims that describe a subject matter in detail and giving its owner a right to exclude others from making, using, or selling it. See small business award.

Only an inventor can obtain a patent; however, employers often require employees to hand over patent rights.

Go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

patent license agreement (PLA)

Commercial use license for patented and patent-pending technologies; PLAs are either nonexclusive or exclusive and define royalties to be paid.

Go to NIH Office of Technology Transfer and NIAID's Should I include intellectual property in my application? question and answer.

Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00)

Award for new investigators to help them begin independent research early in their career. During the initial mentored (K99) phase, investigators must secure a tenure-track, full-time assistant professor position at an academic institution. NIAID makes very few awards.

Go to these NIAID resources:

patient-oriented research

Research into disease mechanisms, therapeutic interventions, clinical trials, or new technologies in which investigators directly interact with study participants. Also see clinical research.

Patriot Act

See USA Patriot Act.


Time and effort trainees on training grants and fellowships must repay the government. During the first year, trainees owe one month for every month of support; then they start paying back one month for every month they work.


Funding cutoff point for grant applications set each fiscal year after NIAID gets a budget by balancing projected grant numbers, grant budgets, and money in the Institute's budget.

NIAID initially sets paylines conservatively. Following the payline, the Institute funds most applications in percentile (for R01s only) or overall impact/priority score order (for other grants) and may fund additional applications above the payline at the end of a fiscal year.

See also interim payline, selective pay, and program balance. Find NIAID Paylines and other resources on the Paylines and Funding portal, including Paylines and Budget Pages Change Throughout the Year.

Go to these resources in the Strategy for NIH Funding:


See program class code.

peer review

System for 1) evaluating research grant applications and contract proposals using non-NIH reviewers who are professional peers of a principal investigator and 2) ensuring there are no administrative concerns or other special issues that preclude funding. Those phases are known as initial peer review and second-level review respectively.

See also dual peer review, scientific review group, study section, integrated review group, special emphasis panel, scientific review officer, human subjects codes, and animals in research codes.

Go to these NIAID resources:

peer review criteria

See initial peer review criteria.

peer reviewer

Scientist who reviews grant applications or contract proposals for NIH, including the scientific review group chair, who leads the discussions.

See also Center for Scientific Review (CSR), initial peer review, primary peer reviewer, secondary peer reviewer, reader, and scientific review officer,

Go to these NIAID resources:


Ranking used by NIH to make funding decisions. The types of applications that receive percentiles vary across institutes and centers (IC). For example, NIAID percentiles only investigator-initiated R01 applications.

A percentile shows the relative position of each application's overall impact/priority score among all scores assigned by a scientific review group at its last three meetings. The range is from 1 to 99 in whole numbers; lower numbers represent better scores.

Go to NIAID's Paylines and Funding portal and these resources in the Strategy for NIH Funding:

period of performance for a contract

Time interval required to complete work defined in a statement of work. A period of performance can be revised only through an agreement between a contractor and a contracting officer, who must issue a formal modification to a contract.


Agreement of a parent or guardian to the participation of their child or ward in research.

Go to these resources:

person month

Measurement of a person's effort in academic, summer, or calendar months a year. Use person months on NIH applications and other forms instead of percent effort.

Go to NIH's Usage of Person Months questions and answers.

personal financial interest

Interest of monetary value that could be affected by an employee's official action; has no minimum for value or control. Go to 45 CFR 73.

personal statement

Part of the Biographical Sketch of a grant application in which key personnel state why their experience qualifies them for their role on the project.

personally identifiable information

Sensitive information that could distinguish a person's identity. Examples include names, social security numbers, medical information, pictures, and financial records.

Different from individually identifiable information in human subjects research.

Go to these NIAID resources:

phase III clinical trial, NIH-defined

See NIH-defined phase III clinical trial, a subsection of the clinical trial definition.

Phased Innovation Award (R21/R33) ​Two-phase award consisting of 1) an exploratory/developmental research grant (R21) for milestone-driven exploratory or feasibility studies with a possible transition to 2) an R33 for expanded development. Go to the R21/R33 Phased Innovation Awards SOP.
phasing coordinator

DEA staff member who creates a project plan.


See Public Health Service.

PHS 2590 Non-Competing Continuation Progress Report

Form used to complete transition applications for Small Business Innovation Research Fast-Track Phase II awards or Phased Innovation Awards (R21/R33).

See Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for progress reporting on a noncompeting grant.

PHS 398 Checklist form

Form in the grant application package that has information such as application type (e.g., new), change of investigator or institution, inventions and patents, program income, and disclosure permission statement.

Go to NIH's SF424 (R&R) Application Guides.

PHS 398 Cover Letter form

Form in the grant application package used to attach a cover letter.

Go to these resources:

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement form

Form in the grant application package that has information NIH needs such as name of project director/principal investigator, identification of research involving human subjects or stem cells, and contact information.

Go to NIH's SF424 (R&R) Application Guides.

PHS 398 Grant Application

Formerly-used term. See SF 424 Application Guide.

PHS 398 Modular Budget form

Form for modular budgets in the grant application package. Also see Research and Related Budget Component form.

Also see PHS 398 Modular Budget form.

Go to these resources:

PHS 398 Research Plan form

Form in the grant application package used to create the Research Plan.

Go to NIAID's Strategy to Write the Research Plan in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

PHS Alert System

See Alert System, PHS.


See principal investigator.

PI applicant

See applicant.

PI signature assurance

See principal investigator signature assurance.


See public law.


See patent license agreement.

Planned Enrollment Report

Form listing potential populations to be enrolled for human subjects research. Go to PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report. You'll select "Planned" for enrollment type.

Also see SF 424 Application Guide and Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report.

Go to these NIH resources:

Go to these NIAID resources:

pluripotent stem cell

Stem cell that can differentiate into many types of endoderm, ectoderm, and mesoderm cell. Compare with multipotent, oligopotent, totipotent, and unipotent stem cells.

post-implantation embryo

Implanted embryo in early stages of development before formation of identifiable tissues and organs.

postdoctoral trainee

Person with a Ph.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., M.D., or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution.

posted date term for the date a funding opportunity announcement is posted in and the NIH Guide. A posted date may be earlier than an open date, so applicants may begin working on the application early. See the equivalent NIH Guide term release date.


Statement in summary form of the intent of an applicant to request funds. NIAID uses it to assess an applicant's eligibility and ability to compete with other grant applications as well as discourage those with little chance of success.

preaward costs

Costs (e.g., salaries, animal purchases, other start-up costs) that principal investigators incur when they anticipate receiving a Notice of Award. Prior approval is required in some cases.

Incurring preaward costs does not obligate NIAID to issue a Notice of Award or increase the amount of an approved budget.

Go to these resources:


Research conducted in animals after the discovery of a compound to analyze its biological effects, including pharmacokinetics, toxicology, and mutagenesis.

predoctoral trainee

Person with a B.A., B.S., or comparable degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution who is enrolled in a Ph.D. or equivalent research degree program.

pre-implantation embryo

Fertilized egg at all developmental stages up to blastocyst.

Preliminary Studies/Progress Report

Part of an NIH grant application's Research Strategy.

  • Preliminary Studies—for a new application, section describing the principal investigator’s relevant preliminary studies to establish the competence of the investigator to accomplish goals of the project.
  • Progress Report—for a renewal NIH grant application, section summarizing the previous application’s Specific Aims, any changes to the aims as a result of budget reductions, and importance of results.

Go to these sections in the Strategy for NIH Funding:

preliminary cost analysis

Analysis performed by a contracting officer to determine whether an offeror's proposed costs are fair and reasonable.

Go to FAR 15.404 and NIAID's Contracts portal.

President's budget

Annual budget request submitted to Congress by the U.S. president. NIAID submits a budget request as part of the NIH budget request, which is modified by the Office of Management and Budget.

Go to these resources:

price analysis

Evaluation of a proposed price by comparing it with other offered prices or prices previously paid for similar goods or services. Go to NIAID's Contracts portal.

primary assignment

Routing of an NIH grant application by the Center for Scientific Review to an institute or center (IC), which decides whether to fund it.

An institute or center may request to change an assignment if the application is more suited to another IC. Also see secondary assignment and receipt, referral, and assignment of applications.

Go to these NIAID resources in the Strategy for NIH Funding:

primary caregiver technical assistance supplement

Monies added to an existing grant to support postdoctoral research scientists who are taking care of a child or sick family member.

Go to these NIAID resources:

primary peer reviewer

Peer reviewer who reads a grant application thoroughly, writes a critique before an initial peer review meeting, and then presents it to the scientific review group for discussion. See also secondary peer reviewer, reader, and scientific review officer,

Go to these NIAID resources:

principal investigator (PI)

Qualified person from an applicant institution who directs a research project or program supported by NIH and usually writes a grant application.

PIs oversee the scientific and technical aspects of a grant and the day-to-day management of the research. term is project director/principal investigator. Also see multiple PI.

Go to NIAID's Ready for Independent Support? in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

principal investigator signature assurance

Document that replaces a principal investigator's signature on NIH's electronic documents. PIs file the assurance with a grantee institution for each grant application, progress report for grants, or prior approval request.

principal investigator, new

See new investigator.

prior approval for contracts

Written approval a contractor must obtain from a contracting officer to change a project or budget after an award is made.

prior approval for grants

Written approval a principal investigator must get from an NIH institute's grants management officer to change an approved project or budget after an award is made. See grant rebudgeting.

Go to NIAID's Prior Approvals for Post Award Grant Actions SOP.

priority review

Process FDA uses to reduce the time needed to review a new drug application that either offers major advances in treatment or provides a treatment when no adequate therapy exists. FDA conducts priority review for most drugs with a fast track designation.

Priority review, along with fast track and accelerated approval, is part of FDA's approach to making therapeutically important drugs available at an earlier time.

Go to FDA's Fast Track, Accelerated Approval and Priority.

priority score

Formerly used term. See overall impact/priority score.

priority score mailer

Formerly used term. NIH discontinued sending hard copies of overall impact/priority scores; principal investigators can now find them in the Commons.

Privacy Act

Law protecting citizens against needless collection, record keeping, or release of personal data and allowing them to see and correct the information.

Go to these resources:

private information

Information for which a person can expect that observations or recordings are not taking place, and the information will not be made public. Information must be individually identifiable to constitute human subjects research. See coded private information.

Go to these resources:


Acquisition of property or services for the benefit or use of the government, generally through a contract. Go to NIAID's Contracts portal.

progenitor cell

Intermediate-stage cell derived from a stem cell; can differentiate into a mature cell but cannot self-renew.

program announcement (PA)

NIH announcement requesting grant applications in stated scientific areas, unless a generic parent program announcement.

Generally institutes do not set aside money to pay for the grants (unless a PAS), and applications are considered to be investigator-initiated. For some PAs, NIAID may fund applications with scores beyond the payline.

Institutes publish PAs in the NIH Guide and in as funding opportunity announcements. Also see PAR, PAS, and request for applications (RFA).

Go to these NIAID resources:

program announcement with special receipt, referral and/or review considerations (PAR)

Program announcement that identifies the location of initial peer review, either in the Center for Scientific Review or an institute, and may include other information on receipt, referral, or review. Abbreviation is PAR. See Scientific Review Program, PAS, and request for applications (RFA).

Go to these NIAID resources:

program announcement with set-aside funds (PAS)

Program announcement with set-aside funds to pay for the grants, abbreviated PAS. See Scientific Review Program, PAR, and request for applications (RFA).

Go to these NIAID resources:

program balance

Basis for funding decisions reflecting a need to balance an NIH institute's support of research in all its programmatic areas with high-quality grant applications eligible for funding. At NIAID, we fund most applications by the payline.

program class code

IMPAC designator signifying a scientific program, category of research, and program officer. NIAID uses four bytes.

The first denotes division: Division of AIDS—A, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation—I, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases—M, or Division of Extramural Activities—X.

The next two characters denote a scientific program, and the fourth character denotes programs with more than one program officer.

Program class codes allow staff and NIAID's main advisory Council members to see where grant applications and grants reside administratively.

Go to these NIAID resources:

program officer

NIAID staff member who oversees a scientific program and the progress of grants in his or her research portfolio.

Program officers administer grant portfolios, set scientific priorities, advise investigators, and act as an advocate for a science area. They work closely with grants management specialists to resolve issues with applications and grants. Also called program official.

Go to these NIAID resources:

program officer approval of a competing application

Formerly used term. See Program Officer Checklist.

Program Officer Checklist

Checklist in IMPAC used to document a program officer's evaluation of the scientific aspects of a research project, other support to identify possible overlap of support, and other factors that may affect a competing application's funding level.

Also used to document evaluation of noncompeting progress report for grants.

Go to Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Program Officer Checklist SOP.

program project (P)

Grant in the P series that supports a multidisciplinary, long-term research program that has an objective or theme and involves groups of investigators who conduct individual projects.

Awarded on behalf of one or more principal investigators, the grant supports two or more research projects and can fund shared resources called cores.

Go to these NIAID resources:

programmatic reduction

See average programmatic reduction.

progress report for contracts

Required scheduled report summarizing research progress; may include technical, fiscal, and invention report information.

Go to NIAID's Contract Deliverables and Reporting Requirements SOP.

progress report for grants

Report a grantee submits to NIH to report progress and continue funding.  See Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR).

project costs for grants

Total allowable costs, both direct costs and facilities and administrative costs, incurred by a grantee to carry out a project. Costs can be charged to a grant and paid by a grantee to satisfy a matching or cost-sharing requirement.

See the Research and Related Budget components of the grant application package.

Go to NIAID's Plan Your Budget in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

project director/principal investigator term for principal investigator.

Project Narrative

Field and attachment to the Research and Related Budget Other Project Information form that describes the public health relevance of the proposed research in three sentences or less in lay language. See Project Summary/Abstract.

Go to these resources:

Project/Performance Site Locations form

See Research and Related Project/Performance Site Locations form.

project period

See grant project period.

project plan

NIAID plan outlining major milestones for developing and publishing initiatives and reviewing the resulting grant applications and contract proposals. Formerly called phasing plan.

Go to NIAID's Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Phasing of Initiatives SOP.

Project Summary/Abstract

Field and attachment to the Research and Related Budget Other Project Information form that provides a succinct description of the major aspects of the proposed research in 30 lines or less.

Abstracts of funded applications are made public in the RePORTER database and should not include confidential information. Also see Project Narrative.

Go to these resources:

Prompt Payment Act

Law that ensures companies transacting business with the government are paid on time. The government must pay within 30 days from the date a contractor submits an invoice or must pay interest.

Go to FAR 32.9.


Written offer by a person or non-federal organization to enter into a contract, usually in response to a solicitation. It consists of a technical and a business proposal, including a description of the project and its costs, and the methods, personnel, and facilities to carry it out.

Go to NIAID's Contracts portal.

proposal, acceptable

See acceptable proposal.


Interested party's written objection to an agency's contract solicitation, proposed award, or award.

Go to FAR 33.101 and NIAID's Contracts portal.


Formal design for research involving human subjects or research animals an investigator submits to an institutional review board or institutional animal care and use committee for review. For human subjects research, NIAID staff also review protocols.

A protocol generally describes the objective, rationale, design, eligibility requirements, treatment regimen, and research and data analysis methods.

Go to NIAID Human Subjects Resources and Animals in Research portals.

Public Health Service (PHS)

Umbrella organization in the U.S. federal government for HHS health agencies, the Office of Public Health and Science, and the Commissioned Corps. Granting agencies:

Go to the Office of Public Health and Science, HHS.

public law

Public bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers of Congress and has been enacted into law. Go to NIAID's Congress Provides Direction and Funding.

publicly available source

Public source of data, such as census data. The meaning with respect to human tissue specimens is widely debated. Generally, specimens that are readily accessible to the research community but not the public are not considered to be publicly available.

Go to these resources:


Service of the NIH National Library of Medicine providing access to millions of MEDLINE citations and journals as well as links to full text articles. Go to PubMed.

PubMed Central

Free database of the NIH National Library of Medicine housing biomedical and life sciences journal articles. NIH requires investigators to post their manuscripts to PubMed Central.

Go to NIAID's Public Access of Publications SOP and Copyright and Publication for Grantees questions and answers.

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Last Updated April 26, 2016

Last Reviewed April 30, 2012