Strategy for NIH Funding
Advice for Managing Your Grant · Approaches for Staying Funded
On this page, you'll find our strategy for maintaining funding for your career. Get tips on planning new projects, and consider a small award or other ways to generate preliminary data.
We also give you ideas about and links to other funding sources besides NIH.
See our strategy to renew your grant, a common failure point for many investigators, and learn how to prepare your renewal.
Stagger multiple applications.
Have several applications in the works to boost your chances that one will succeed.
Start planning new applications early, after the first year of your grant or even while you're waiting to hear about funding, by considering:
To maximize your chances of success, submit new and renewal applications at different times.
Pick and Design a Project in Part 2
Approaches for Staying Funded in Part 7
When planning another application, make sure of the following.
The topic is clearly distinct from your funded work.
You do not dilute your best ideas with too many applications too close in topic.
You can juggle all the work. Your level of effort must not exceed 100 percent for all your work.
Even though you're busy, keep publishing.
Take different routes such as R21 or R03; look into joining a multiproject grant.
Go for a smaller activity code; become part of a multiproject grant.
To explore a new avenue of research, consider applying for a smaller activity code:
NIAID accepts investigator-initiated applications for R21s and R03s in response to:
Find our RFAs and PAs on our NIAID Funding Opportunities List.
Find other NIH opportunities in the NIH Guide.
As another funding option, consider getting your research included as part of a multiproject grant, e.g., a program project or other team science effort that could benefit from your work.
Just the Facts
NIH's Parent Program Announcements
NIH's R03 and R21
Small and Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants SOP
Small and Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants questions and answers
Choose the Grant in Part 2
Should You Apply for an R21?
See if you can reuse an unfunded application.
Can you reuse an unfunded application?
If your application does not succeed, you can apply for funding for the same research as long as overlapping applications are not under review at the same time.
Understand the different ways to reuse an unfunded application:
You May Reuse Some Types of Applications in Approaches for Staying Funded in Part 7
NIH's Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications
Definition: activity code
Reuse an Unfunded Application in Approaches for Staying Funded in Part 7
Look into other funding sources.
Consider R&D contract funding at NIH.
Watch for solicitations that may match your capabilities.
Why You May Want to Consider a Contract
About NIAID R&D Contracts
Extramural R&D Solicitations
How to Decide if a Solicitation Is for You on Why You May Want to Consider a Contract
Contract with NIH in Approaches for Staying Funded in Part 7
Look for opportunities to collaborate.
You can get NIH funding through different types of collaborations:
Collaborate in Approaches for Staying Funded in Part 7
Look into funding sources outside NIH.
Consider these funding sources: other government agencies, foundations, companies you could collaborate with and earn income.
If your NIH application does not succeed, you can apply for funding for the same research from a non-PHS agency or other organization outside the federal government.
Broaden Your Horizons in Approaches for Staying Funded in Part 7
If you are a new investigator, take this advice.
Don't wait until you begin an academic appointment to write your first application.
Toward the end of your postdoc, tap the knowledge of people who are familiar with your work and in the best position to give you feedback.
Writing any grant application increases your chances of success for future applications.
Hatch a Plan for Your Career in Pick a Research Project in Part 2
Have a strategy.
With plenty of time before your funding ends, answer these questions.
Do I want to continue the current project at roughly the same level of resources?
When should I apply?
How will I maintain funding if I don't succeed on the first try?
Apply for Renewal or Start Anew in Part 7
Submit a renewal or a new application.
Decide whether to submit a renewal or a new application.
You can choose to renew your grant by submitting a renewal, or you can apply with a new application.
Your situation and the science dictate which route is most advantageous.
Find more information and advice in the links at right.
NIH's Evaluation of Unallowable Resubmission and Overlapping Application
Option 2: Create a New Application in Choose Your Option in Part 6
Decide when to apply.
Avoid a gap in funding.
Give yourself enough time to get an award before your grant ends.
Weigh the pros and cons of applying early in your grant rather than waiting until the last possible receipt date before you would incur a funding gap.
Ask your program officer for advice.
Don't wait too long to submit a renewal after your grant ends.
NIH does not set a time limit, but reviewers will probably be concerned by major gaps between projects because the science has likely changed.
Prepare a new application if the research is dated.
Tie the renewal to the previous grant.
Link your plans to your previous grant's aims, do not duplicate its aims, and show progress.
Assess what the outside world (including reviewers) thinks of your research when planning your next project.
Revisit the science in light of trends in the field.
Know that you don't have to complete everything you agreed to when you got the grant, but you do need to show that you made progress.
Publish before you apply.
Reassess your grant's Research Plan, especially the Significance section.
Know how to fill out the forms.
Follow the same format and page limits as a new application with a few exceptions.
PHS 398 Research Plan
Senior/Key Person Profile
SF 424 (Cover Page)—several items unique to renewals; follow the SF 424 Application Guide.
SF 424 Application Guide
If you change the title, let NIH know you're submitting a renewal.
While it is often best to keep the same title, use a different title if it's a better fit.
If you change the title, check the box on the checklist (the last page) of the grant application indicating that your application is a renewal.
Plan your budget.
Request the amount of money you need to perform the research.
Check our financial plan page to see if we are using a budget cap on the amount of money you can request for a renewal R01 above the previous award.
Learn how to cope with the budget cap.
Live within your means.
Talk to your program officer for advice.
Just the Facts
Financial Management Plan
Renewal Funding SOP
Renewal Application questions and answers
Strategies for Dealing With a Budget Cap in Apply for Renewal or Start Anew in Part 7
Know what to do if your renewal does not succeed.
If your renewal does not succeed, revise.
Keep in mind the length of time it may take to get an award.
Plan to avoid a break in funding. See "Avoid a gap in funding" under Decide when to apply above.
You may still need to wait until the end of the fiscal year to get funded even if your application is approved for selective pay.
Selective Pay SOP
R56-Bridge Awards and Selective Pay questions and answers
Timing Factors That Affect Your Application and Award
Part 6. If Not Funded
Revise, Don't Wait for Later Funding in Timing Factors That Affect Your Application and Award
Strategy for NIH Funding
See the other sections ofPart 7. Funding
Table of Contents for the Strategy
We welcome your comments, questions, or suggestions. Email email@example.com.
Last Updated April 20, 2015
Last Reviewed January 03, 2012