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Early Grant Awards Questions and Answers

Table of Contents


Early Funding for Renewals

Early Start Date

Spending Before Receiving a Grant


Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

What are early grant awards?

Early awards are grants funded before second-level review by NIAID's advisory Council.

For an early grant that receives a fundable percentile in March, for example, we could approve it for funding a few weeks after you receive your summary statement and make the grant award before the May Council meeting where it would normally undergo second-level review.

How can NIAID make grant awards early?

NIAID can make awards early because of a process called expedited second-level review, which enables Council members to perform second-level review before the Council meeting. See the next question.

What is expedited Council review?

With the expedited approach, we do not wait for a Council meeting. Instead, some Council members perform second-level review about eight weeks before Council meets.

For more information, see the Expedited Council Review and Award SOP.

How do I know if I qualify for an early award?

You qualify if your award is one of the following types:

  • Investigator-initiated grant that is within the NIAID payline and has no special concerns or unresolved appeals.
  • Application responding to a request for applications or program announcement.
  • R56-Bridge award.

Grants that cannot be expedited are selective pay, MERIT awards and MERIT extensions, appeals, barred applications with unresolved issues, applications exceeding the 20 percent cap for renewal awards, foreign grants, and other special issue grants.

To learn more, read the Expedited Council Review and Award SOP.

How early can NIAID fund an award?

For the first two Councils—January or February and May—we can fund qualifying applications a few weeks after initial peer review.

Get full details on the early award process in the Expedited Council Review and Award SOP.

If my application goes to September Council, what are my chances of getting funded before next fiscal year?

We rarely award a September Council application before the next fiscal year, but we can do that for high-priority applications.

Usually, we fund applications slated for September Council in the next fiscal year, which starts on October 1. For that cycle, funding is often delayed further while we wait for our annual appropriation from Congress. See the Timing Factors That Affect Your Application and Award.

Early Funding for Renewals

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Can I get funding for a renewal before my existing grant ends?

See Can NIH fund a renewal before the existing grant ends? in our Renewal Application Questions and Answers.

If my renewal application gets a fundable score, but the existing grant doesn't end until the next fiscal year, what happens to the application?

See What happens to a fundable renewal application for a grant that ends the next fiscal year? in our Renewal Application Questions and Answers.

Early Start Date

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

If my new grant application is approved by Council after a September peer review with a start date of April 1, can I start getting funds before April?

Yes. NIAID's grants management staff may contact you to negotiate an earlier start date. You will need to provide the requested information and any other items required by NIAID staff. The grant could then start as early as January 1 and be renewed on that date every year.

If I start as soon as possible, what drawbacks may there be?

There are no drawbacks.

If you're applying for a renewal award, you could consider submitting the application one cycle early. If you send in the application one cycle before the usual due date, you have more time to revise it should you not receive a fundable score. Read more in Apply for Renewal or Start Anew in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

The advantage is small because you could still be funded early under expedited second-level review, or you can extend your existing grant with a no-cost extension to maintain continuity in your research.

Spending Before Receiving a Grant

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Under what circumstances can I start spending money before I get my Notice of Award?

For most grants, your institution can allow you to start spending money up to 90 days before your grant's official start date for research within your approved aims.

However, it does so at its own risk because NIAID has not yet made your award and does not increase your budget if the award can't cover the money you've already spent.

That said, with your institution’s permission, you can use its money to cover costs of personnel, supplies, or equipment on your grant. Contact your institutional business office to find out if this is possible.

Note that the grant does not start early for NIAID, and the renewal date stays the same.

What if my question wasn't answered here, or I'd like to suggest a question?

Email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. We answer questions by email and post them here. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.​​

Last Updated January 27, 2015

Last Reviewed June 10, 2013