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Strategy for NIH Funding
Navigation for the Strategy for NIH Funding. Link to Part 1. Qualify for NIH Funding. Link to Part 2. Pick and Design a Project. Link to Part 3. Write Your Application. Link to Part 4. Submit Your Application. Link to Part 5. Assignment and Review. Link to Part 6. If Not Funded. Link to Part 7. Funding.

Previous page in Strategy.Get Ready Now to Apply Electronically   ·   Pick a Research ProjectNext page in Strategy.

Strategy to Pick a Project

Choosing the right topic is the most important step you'll take in creating a grant application. On this Strategy page, you will find action items for each step, summarizing the information on Pick a Research Project.

The page also gives you links to other resources that have in-depth information and advice on topics such as funding opportunity approaches and grant types.

If you are not sure how your research fits in at NIH, read Part 1. Qualify for NIH Funding before proceeding.

While this document is geared toward the basic research project grant, the R01, much of our advice is useful for other grants.

Choose a Research Topic and Project

Start with a long-term plan.

Action Summary Learn More

Conduct a self-evaluation.

See whether you qualify to apply for an independent research grant such as an R01.

Consider the level of position you need to qualify to apply for different types of grants at your institution.

Before applying for an R01, make sure have significant experience and a publication record (first or last author) in respected journals, or a history of overseeing projects, in your field.

 

Our Advice

Part 1 in What Funding May You Qualify For?

Hatch a Plan for Your Career in Pick a Research Project in Part 2

Strategy for Staying Funded in Part 7

Find your niche.

Identify the most promising research needs and opportunities in your field.

Look for an area where you have the skills be an expert and make an impact.

Look at the other players and judge whether you can compete.

Talk to colleagues and meet new people at scientific meetings to get more ideas for projects in your field and niche.

Plan a series of research goals to accomplish during the next 10 or so years.

Divide your long-term goals into smaller components you could accomplish during the four or five years of a grant.

Just the Facts

Find people and publications.

Our Advice

Part 2

Strategy for Staying Funded in Part 7

Follow these steps to pick and plan a project.

Action Summary Learn More

Use an iterative approach to plan your project.

  1. Staying in your niche, propose a project that:
    • Addresses a highly significant problem.
    • Is innovative—can create new knowledge.
  2. Outline draft Specific Aims and one or more hypotheses.
  3. Identify a potential funding institute and a study section that would likely embrace your research.
  4. Outline experiments.
  5. Assess feasibility.
    • See whether you have access to all needed resources and expertise.
    • Make sure the project is not growing too big for your targeted time and budget.
  6. If you hit a roadblock, go back to the failure point and revise your plans.

 

Just the Facts

Find and research study sections.

Communicating With NIAID—How to Get Help

Our Advice

Pick a Research Project in Part 2

Investigate Committees and Members in Know Your Audience in Part 3

Getting a Grant for Innovative Research

Sample Applications and Summary Statements

Understand Award Type and Approach

Should you determine the activity code?

Action Summary Learn More

If you are highly experienced in this area, look for an activity code online.

If you are highly knowledgeable about NIH grants, go to NIH's Activity Codes Search Results and our Other Grant Types portal.

If you do not know the repercussions of applying for different grant types, get help.

  • Talk to an NIAID program officer.
  • Read our information and advice in Choose the Grant in Part 2.

For links to information about different activity codes, such as fellowships and career and small business grants, go to Part 1. Qualify for NIH Funding.

For information about FOAs, see the section below called "Find a funding opportunity announcement that has forms and instructions for preparing your application."

Just the Facts

NIH's R01 and R21

Definitions

Our Advice

Choose the Grant in Part 2

Decide whether to apply with an investigator-initiated application (the most common route) or use a different approach.

Approach 1. Submit an investigator-initiated application in any area of science NIAID supports.

Approach 2. See whether you are a published expert in any of the high-priority areas announced in our initiatives.

  • Look at our initiatives: requests for applications (RFA) and program announcements (PA) on our NIAID Funding Opportunities List.
  • Choose an initiative only if you are an expert in the area.

Approach 3. Use a high-priority topic as the basis for an investigator-initiated application.

  • To learn about possible upcoming priorities, scan our Council-approved Concepts: Potential Opportunities.
  • Call a program officer to learn more about our initiatives and to discuss topics for an investigator-initiated application.

 

Just the Facts

Choose Approach and Find FOAs in Part 2

Concepts May Turn Into Initiatives

Five Steps to Finding NIAID's High-Priority Areas

RFAs, PAs, and Solicitations questions and answers

Opportunities and Announcements portal

Definitions

Our Advice

Choose Approach and Find FOAs in Part 2

Find a funding opportunity announcement that has forms and instructions for preparing your application.

For any announcement you find in the NIH Guide, see if NIAID participates.

NIH opportunities—announced in the NIH Guide

Investigator-initiated

Solicited research—Requests for Applications

NIAID opportunities—announced in the NIH Guide and on our NIAID Funding Opportunities List

Investigator-initiated

Solicited research—RFAs on the NIAID Funding Opportunities List

Just the Facts

Part 2

Application portal

Definitions

Our Advice

Timing Factors That Affect Your Application and Award

Choose Approach and Find FOAs in Part 2

Strategy for NIH Funding
Navigation for the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Previous page in Strategy.Get Ready Now to Apply Electronically   ·   Pick a Research ProjectNext page in Strategy.

See the other sections of
Part 2. Pick and Design a Project

Table of Contents for the Strategy

We welcome your comments, questions, or suggestions. Email deaweb@niaid.nih.gov.

Last Updated March 26, 2012

Last Reviewed February 08, 2012