Strategy for NIH Funding
Part 3. Write Your Application · Strategy to Write the Research Plan
To help you make informed decisions, this page gives you steps to make sure you plan enough time to write the application and get feedback on it, know about meeting deadlines, understand when it's most advantageous for you to apply, and take action early so you will be ready for electronic submission.
Before reading the information in this part, you may want to first read about planning the application in Part 2.
While this document is geared toward the basic research project grant, the R01, much of it is useful for other grants.
The upper timeline shows major steps from application to award for a simple non-AIDS application, such as an R01. Preparation time can vary considerably. For investigators planning their first application, the planning stage is often much longer than the writing phase.
We give actual months only for precise timing events: the receipt date—indicated by the Due arrow—through the advisory Council meeting. Months to funding varies by 11 months depending on whether you must wait until the end of the fiscal year to get a grant.
Expanding the colored section in the top timeline, the lower timeline shows major action items and timeframes in more detail for Part 3.
For timelines for other sections, go to Strategy Timelines. For more detailed timing information, including for AIDS applications, go to R01 Planning to Award Timeline by Review Cycle.
Did you take time to plan your application and get feedback?
We strongly recommend taking time to plan, investigate, and get feedback on your choice of topic. You may need to spend more time planning than writing the application.
Build in time not only to write but also to get feedback on your writing and then edit, revise, and perfect the application.
Just the Facts
Use an Iterative Approach to Plan Your Project in Pick a Research Project in Part 2
Plan ahead for submitting.
Learn the advantages of applying for different cycles at Timing Factors That Affect Your Application and Award.
Your funding opportunity announcement will give you a receipt date. But your internal submission deadline is your key deadline, not the NIH receipt date. Factor your institution's deadlines into your timing.
To make sure you will be ready to submit, read Get Ready Now to Apply Electronically in Part 2.
If you are submitting an investigator-initiated application, find receipt dates at NIH's Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications so you can let your business office know what date you plan to apply.
If you are responding to a request for applications or institute-specific program announcement, find the receipt date in the NIH Guide announcement for your FOA.
For more submission information, go to Part 4. Submit Your Application.
Other Grant Types portal—more information on other activity codes
Timing Factors That Affect Your Application and Award—submission cycles and the timing of funding
Be ready for electronic application.
If you haven't done this already, ensure that everything will be in place when you are ready to apply. See Be Ready to Apply Electronically in Part 2.
For more on submitting, go to Part 4. Submit Your Application.
Applying for a Grant questions and answers
Grants.gov's Recommended Software
Strategy for NIH Funding
See the other sections ofPart 3. Write Your Application
Table of Contents for the Strategy
We welcome your comments, questions, or suggestions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated March 30, 2016
Last Reviewed September 29, 2011