Strategy for NIH Funding
With the Strategy for NIH Funding, you gain exposure to critical inside knowledge that can help you succeed in the world of NIH grants. Learn our expectations and your important action items at each step of the way.
Also find out how and when to contact NIAID and other NIH staff for help. Finally, this page gives you a quick introduction to NIH grants. See how knowledgeable you are by taking our self test.
To secure funding for an NIH grant, you'll need sound guidance and a solid strategy—the raison d'être for our Strategy for NIH Funding.
The Strategy takes you through all the steps from qualifying for NIH support to staying funded. Even more, it gives you specific "to do's" so you're prepared at every stage.
You enter at the Strategy main page for a graphical overview and corresponding table of contents.
If you need to determine how your research may fit in at NIH, start with Part 1. Qualify for NIH Funding.
Part 2. Pick and Design a Project and the rest of the Strategy help qualified scientists plan and prepare a grant application, geared especially to the standard NIH research grant, called R01. The Strategy also covers later steps: submission, review, and funding.
The Long and Short of It
Each part launches from an Index page that lists the bases covered:
From there, find resource pages that give you more detailed advice and information.
With this organization, you can take a shorter route on the Timing and Strategy pages or get a more comprehensive look— both facts and our best advice—on the Resource pages.
Here's how the structure looks in bulleted form (indentation shows hierarchy).
You can also find a full Table of Contents that shows every header and subhead, which is helpful for searching for your topic of interest.
Use your browser's search function (e.g., control F) to enter keywords, such as "cover letter," to find the right page—in this case Create a Cover Letter in Part 4.
Do It Right and Right on Time
Our timing pages can help you make the right moves at the right moment.
Use them in two ways: 1) a cue to take key actions and 2) a reference to remind yourself of upcoming action items so you can make sure your plans are on track. Find a page with all the timelines at Strategy Timelines.
Check It Off
So as not to overload you, we present much of the information for writing the application as a working tool to use as you work on your draft.
On the resource pages, we get you started with the concepts and a rationale for each topic. After you've prepared an initial draft, you can use our checkpoints to critique your draft, and make sure you've covered each point.
Check the list, review your work, and revise your text. Repeat until perfect!
What It's Not
The Strategy does not repeat the directions in NIH's SF 424 Application Guide or the NIH Guide announcement associated with a funding opportunity announcement. You need to follow those instructions to prepare your application.
It also does not detail requirements for different types of grants. While much of our content applies to grant writing in general, the Strategy is geared to the standard NIH research grant, the R01.
On the Research Funding site, you can find more information, for example, our Other Grant Types portal and the Quick Facts on Research Grant Applications page, which answers many basic questions.
Though much of the Strategy pertains to grantsmanship in general, we wrote it from an NIAID perspective.
Though much of our information and advice pertains to grantsmanship in general, the Strategy is written from an NIAID perspective. We share with you the knowledge and experience of senior NIAID staff, including former NIH grantees.
Some of this information is specific to NIAID—we cannot speak to the practices of other institutes.
Please take our advice as opinion only. Differing views may exist, and if you have one, we would welcome hearing it. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find other NIH information at Office of Extramural Research and Institutes, Centers, and Offices.
These key points will help you understand NIH and NIAID.
Do you know enough about NIH to make it successfully through the system?
You may also want to take our Test Your NIH Savvy: Self-Quiz in our New Investigator Guide to NIH Funding, which asks you application-related factoids such as "NIH funds people and their careers—True or False?"
NIAID program staff are your primary sources of information.
Helping investigators like you is an important part of the job for many NIAID staff.
Below we list your contacts for different application types by award stage.
Read Communicating With NIAID—How to Get Help to learn how to contact us, when you must contact us, and what to do if you don't hear back promptly.
Know who can help you both before and after you apply. You may also want to read our Finding Help questions and answers.
Main contact. NIAID program staff are your primary sources of information for scientific, funding, and programmatic matters. They work in DAIDS, DAIT, and DMID—see the box below for the divisions' full names and links to their contact pages.
Program staff are busy people, so you may want to email first. An email also gives you written information to refer back to if needed. For more information, read When to Contact an NIAID Program Officer.
Contact a program officer for your area of science.
Small business awards. For help with Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Research grants, contact Dr. Paula Strickland in our Office of Research Training and Special Programs.
Training and career development grants. Fellowships, training grants, and career development awards are managed by the Office of Research Training and Special Programs. Contact AITrainingHelpDesk@niaid.nih.gov or the program officer in the relevant division—go to links in the box at right.
You can read about qualifying for different grants in Part 1. Qualify for NIH Funding.
Before Peer Review
Before the review meeting, you can contact a scientific review officer either at NIAID or the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR), depending on which organization is reviewing your application. Find the location of the review and (for NIAID) contacts in the funding opportunity announcement.
If you are applying with an investigator-initiated application, call CSR—go to Contact CSR. Contact staff in NIAID's Scientific Review Program for applications reviewed here—go to SRP Contacts.
Talk to a scientific review officer if you are looking for any of the following:
Learn more about peer review in Part 5. Assignment and Review.
After you receive your summary statement, contact your program officer to ask about your chances of funding, particularly if your application scored above the payline.
If funding is not imminent, your program officer may be able to give you additional insight into the discussion at the peer review meeting, which he or she (or a representative) may have attended as an observer. That information could help you decide what to do next and how to approach revising your application.
Find your program officer's name in the eRA Commons and at the top of your summary statement. Read more in the Strategy for Assignment and Review in Part 5.
Your contact depends on the type of information you're looking for.
Science issues. Contact your program officer for science-related issues about your grant.
Administrative issues. Contact your grants management specialist for business and policy issues. He or she will also negotiate the terms and conditions of award with you and prepare your Notice of Award.
Grants specialists can also help you with new policies and guidelines that affect items you can request for your grant and how to request them, helping you avoid unnecessary paperwork or delays. Find your contact in the eRA Commons or at Grants Management Program Contacts on the NIAID Web site.
You can also find basic grants management information online.
For more help with contacting NIAID, see Communicating With NIAID—How to Get Help.
For questions that don't require the attention of one of our staff, try one of these approaches.
Strategy for NIH Funding
Table of Contents for the Strategy
We welcome your comments, questions, or suggestions. Email email@example.com.
Last Updated December 03, 2012
Last Reviewed September 29, 2011