See the Glossary for more terms.
NIAID's multiproject applications have transitioned to electronic submission for all activity codes except U54 and UM1. For more on electronic submission, read Prepare for Electronic Submission, below.
Unless your funding opportunity announcement (FOA) says to submit a paper application, apply electronically.
While still in the planning stage, contact a program officer in the NIAID division—DAIT, DAIDS, or DMID—that would support your work if funded.
You may also need the division's approval before applying. Read more at Contact NIAID and Obtain Preapproval.
Multiproject grants share the following features:
You may apply for a multiproject grant in one of the following two ways:
NIAID accepts investigator-initiated applications for P01s only.
P01 grant—multidisciplinary, long-term program headed by a PI or PIs who bring in other investigators to conduct research projects and share resources. For an investigator-initiated application, go to the NIAID Investigator-Initiated Program Project Applications (P01) FOA.
P30 grant—a center core grant that supports shared resources and facilities for a multidisciplinary research team or group of investigators focusing on a common research topic.
P50 grant—a specialized center award that supports a multidisciplinary group of investigators who share a common research topic.
U19 cooperative agreement—award that requires substantial involvement from NIAID staff.
U54 cooperative agreement—supports research and development from basic to clinical, including ancillary supportive activities that create a multidisciplinary focus on a disease or a biomedical problem. Centers may also serve as regional or national resources for special research purposes.
UM1 cooperative agreement—supports large-scale cooperative agreements involving complex clinical trials with multiple components, e.g., clinical networks.
Some NIAID opportunities don't give you a multiple PI option, so read the announcement carefully.
For most FOAs, you may submit a multiple PI application, unless specified otherwise, for the overall program.
Some NIAID-specific opportunities don't give you a multiple PI option, so read the announcement carefully.
For information and guidance, read Should You Consider a Multiple PI Application? and Note for Multiple PI Applications in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
All applicants should contact the appropriate NIAID program division before planning an application. In most cases, you will need our approval ten weeks or more before the application deadline.
Before tackling the arduous task of preparing an application, touch base with a program officer early on to:
Discuss Approval of Your Idea
You must have an NIAID program division approve its acceptance of your application if you're planning to submit any program project (P01) application (new, resubmission, or renewal) that is both investigator-initiated and requests $500,000 or more in direct costs for any year.
This big grant policy applies even if none of the individual projects requests $500,000 or more.
While you may ask for up to $499,000 without approval, we strongly encourage you to contact NIAID if your application comes anywhere close to that level for the following reasons:
You must submit the same application that the program division approved. If you do need to change the application after that approval, talk to your program officer and inform the scientific review officer about the changes.
See our Big Grants SOP and the NIAID Investigator-Initiated Program Project Applications (P01) FOA for more information.
To maximize your chances of success, we strongly encourage you to submit a component research project of a multiproject grant application as a research project R01 at the same time.
If both the multiproject and R01 applications are fundable, you may not withdraw from the multiproject grant.
Should you decide to go this route, keep the following points in mind:
One scientific review committee will evaluate your entire application, assessing two major aspects: 1) each research project and core component and 2) the overall program as an integrated research effort.
Peer reviewers first assess the merit of each project and core and then the overall application. When scoring the overall program, reviewers consider each project and core, synergy among the projects, and impact—the ability of the program to move the field forward.
Here are the main points for the scoring of multiproject applications, also summarized in the table below:
Scoring for Multiproject Applications and Their Components
yes for investigator-initiated P01s;
option for other FOAs
An application is recommended for "no further consideration" if peer reviewers deem that fewer than the required minimum number of research projects (two unless stated otherwise in an announcement) have substantial and significant scientific merit. NIAID will not award such applications or consider a strong project for a separate award.
As stated under Option to Submit Simultaneously as an R01, you can submit an application simultaneously as an independent R01 for a project that is part of a multiproject application.
For more information on peer review, read the FOA.
Consider the following questions when writing a multiproject application. To be a strong candidate, you should be able to confidently answer "yes" to each question.
Below is a list of common mistakes that cause reviewers to give applications weaker scores.
Though some multiproject FOAs still ask for a paper application, the following ones require you apply electronically using a new processing system called ASSIST:
*For these FOAs, NIH will add instructions for electronic submission before the next application deadline.
NIH will soon require electronic submission for all multiproject applications. See the Transition Timeline for conversion dates for each activity code.
Make Friends With ASSIST
With ASSIST, you can:
NIH plans to create an interface that allows you to access ASSIST directly from the eRA Commons. In the meantime, you can get in through the ASSIST portal.
New Form Order, Interface
ASSIST puts application components in the following order:
Take some time now to get used to the new order—go to Multiproject Application Images for annotated samples.
Also get used to the electronic interface. To help you prepare, NIH created a "test environment" where you can experiment.
For a link to the test environment and instructions how to use it, read "Playing” With ASSIST—Applicants.
Act Now to Avoid Future Problems
Make sure your Commons settings are correct.
You may access ASSIST only if you're registered in eRA Commons with one of the following roles:
And, only the following people may submit an application using ASSIST:
If your institution uses its own submission software instead of Grants.gov, check that it will allow you to submit multiproject data to Grants.gov.
Follow NIH's Lead
Once we have more experience with electronic submission of multiproject applications, we'll update our advice. Meanwhile, here are some useful resources from NIH:
Last Updated December 03, 2013
Last Reviewed September 27, 2013