See the Glossary for more terms.
Table of Contents
Always apply in response to a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) by downloading and filling out the application package associated with it. Follow these steps:
See When do I use an NIH parent versus an NIAID announcement? in the Funding Opportunity Announcements questions and answers.
See Why should I read the statement of interest for a parent PA? in the Funding Opportunity Announcements questions and answers.
Here's the process in Grants.gov:
For more information, see eRA's Prepare to Apply.
When you access a funding opportunity announcement in Grants.gov, you'll see a screen with boxes containing mandatory and optional forms, called components.
You must complete all mandatory components, and you may have to complete some of the optional ones. "Optional" does not always mean you can opt out. Read the NIH Guide announcement to see which forms are required.
Grants.gov will not check that you have the correct optional budget form—be sure to pick the right one. Get more information in Strategy to Prepare the Forms and Just-In-Time in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
Yes. Changes to page limits and structuring affect all applications. Refer to the Detail of Applications Changes document, the Table of Page Limits, and the funding opportunity announcement for major changes that you should keep in mind.
Read Strategy to Write the Research Plan and Strategy to Prepare the Forms and Just-In-Time in the Strategy for NIH Funding for detailed guidance.
When you view a funding opportunity announcement, you'll see Grants.gov SF 424 forms, which are used by many federal agencies, and others that add information NIH needs.
When it adapted to Grants.gov, NIH retained the name PHS 398 for these electronic forms, which include the Modular Budget, Research Plan, and Cover Letter File.
Find related information in General Application Information and Why doesn't the grant application package always match NIH's requirements? below.
You can get different forms of help:
The SF 424 and the associated Research and Related forms are government-wide. Many agencies use them, so they don't necessarily correspond to NIH's needs.
For example, the Research and Related Senior/Key Person Profile lets you attach a "Current and Pending Support" file, but NIH does not want you to submit that attachment.
There are only a few cases of mismatch—see Avoiding Common Errors for further information.
If you see an inaccurate Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number in the funding opportunity announcement, just ignore it. NIH will change it later.
Yes. You can use letters of either case, numbers, hyphens, and underscores. We don't recommend using other characters or spaces in file names; most are not allowed.
Yes. Here they are:
No. You must use one of the "optional" budget form components. See Plan Your Budget in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
Upload your Research Plan as a single PDF attachment. Read the Get Started Writing the Research Plan and Write the Research Strategy in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
See How will I sign my application? in General Application Information.
Find that information on What to Add and Not to Add in an Appendix in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
Go to NIH's Avoiding Common Errors.
Here are the last steps you need to complete before your Grants.gov authorized organizational representative (AOR) can submit your grant application package for you.
See Submitting and Validating Your Electronic Application for the next set of questions and answers on electronic grant applications. Also go to Applying for a Grant, Writing a Great Grant Application, and other Application questions and answers.
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Last Updated March 15, 2012
Last Reviewed May 16, 2011