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Quick Facts on Research Grant Applications Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

Which form do I use to apply for an NIH research grant?

Check the funding opportunity announcement to be sure. Most grant types, such as the R01 and the Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21), use the electronic forms in the grant application package.

Some complex awards, like certain cooperative agreements, are not electronic.

Go to our Application portal for more resources.

How do I get funding for an investigator-initiated clinical trial?

NIAID uses a mandatory approach to funding investigator-initiated clinical trials. For more information, go to Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial Resources.

Always call an NIAID program officer before planning a clinical trial application.

Should I include a cover letter?

Yes. We advise that you use a cover letter to request assignment of your application to a study section for initial peer review and an institute for possible funding.

If you do not make those requests, CSR will use your cover letter to assign your application. You can also use a cover letter to list the names of people you don't want to review your application, e.g., a competitor or someone with whom you have a long-standing scientific disagreement. Your cover letter might be required for some applications.

For more information, go to Create a Cover Letter in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How do I send my application?

Use the grant application package listed in your funding opportunity announcement. For more information about sending your application, read Strategy for a Successful Submission in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

When is my application due?

NIH accepts most investigator-initiated applications on three receipt dates. For example, non-AIDS new R01 applications are due on February 5, June 5, and October 5 (the date moves forward to the next business day if that day is a holiday or weekend).

AIDS, renewals, small business awards, fellowships, and other grant types have different receipt dates.

NIAID has an annual submission deadline for T32 and T35 training grant applications: September 25 for non-AIDS and January 7 for AIDS-related. Each request for applications has its own one-time receipt date.

If a deadline is on a weekend or federal holiday, it moves to the next business day.

Go to the Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications for all NIH receipt dates, and see Prepare to Submit and Rules for Late Applications in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

I've heard that NIH doesn't require PI signatures. Is this true?

Yes. A principal investigator signature assurance replaces the signature.

What does CSR do with my application after receiving it?

CSR assigns your application to an integrated review group and study section for initial peer review and an institute or center for potential funding.

For more information, go to Ensure You Get the Right Assignments in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How do I know if CSR or an IC will review my application?

NIAID reviews applications for program project grants, cooperative agreements, career awards, institutional training grants, conference grants, Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial Planning and Implementation Awards, and applications responding to requests for applications.

CSR reviews investigator-initiated grant applications for all award types except those reviewed in NIAID.

See Who Peer Reviews Your Application? in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How long will I have to wait for notification of assignment?

Seven to ten days after you apply. Log in to the eRA Commons to see the assignments. For more information, go to Ensure You Get the Right Assignments in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

What if I don't like the assignments?

If you are not satisfied with your application's assignments, you can request a change. See Ensure You Get the Right Assignments in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How long will I have to wait for my summary statement?

You will receive a summary statement through the eRA Commons within 30 days after the review meeting (10 days for new investigators with R01 applications). Read Know What a Summary Statement Means in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Whom do I contact before the initial review of my application?

Call the scientific review officer of the scientific review group reviewing your application. For a CSR study section, go to the CSR Study Section Roster Index; for an NIAID review group, go to our Scientific Review Program Contacts list.

Whom do I contact at NIAID after the review of my application?

Call the program officer listed in the Commons and on your summary statement. See When to Contact an NIAID Program Officer.

What happens if my application receives a fundable score?

NIAID's main advisory Council performs second-level review and makes a funding recommendation to NIAID. For fundable applications, NIAID's Grants Management Program sends you a Notice of Award.

Read Outcomes of Second-Level Review and Strategy for Funding Decisions in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How long will I have to wait for my Notice of Award?

For a fundable R01 application, it may take as long as six to eight weeks after the Council meeting to receive your Notice of Award; sooner if it underwent expedited second-level review. The wait could be longer if the study section had human or animal concerns or you have a complex grant type.

For more timing information, see the R01 Planning to Award Timeline by Review Cycle, and go to How Long to Get the Grant in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

You can check for your Notice of Award in the Status module of the eRA Commons, or you can search Issued Notice of (Grant) Award.

What should I do if there is a code 44 bar to award?

If you see a code 44 bar to award on your summary statement, contact your program officer immediately. That code indicates a review group concern with your use of research animals or human subjects. We cannot make an award until the bar is lifted.

For more information on what to do and what you should expect, read the Bars to Grant Awards—Research Animals or the Bars to Grant Awards—Human Subjects SOPs.

What should I do if my application is deferred for funding?

If your application misses the payline, we advise you not to wait and see if you are funded later in the fiscal year. It is better to revise the application and resubmit it as soon as you can based on your summary statement and feedback from your program officer.

Learn more about this option at When We Defer a Funding Decision in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

What should I do if my application does not receive a fundable score?

Various approaches work best in different situations. Read the following in the Strategy for NIH Funding:

Also discuss your options with your program officer and experienced investigators in your institution.

How can I obtain funding amounts for intramural NIAID grants?

Intramural projects are not funded through grants. Our intramural scientists are federal employees and therefore ineligible for almost all federal grants.

However, you can find funding data for intramural projects, as you would for extramural research, in the NIH RePORTER database. Choose intramural research on the Funding Mechanism part of the search form. Or search for the project number if you know it.

Learn more in our Extramural and Intramural Research questions and answers.

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

See our main Grants and Contracts portals and our All About Grants Tutorials.

If you still can't find the answer, email deaweb@niaid.nih.gov 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 March 21, 2014

Last Reviewed March 21, 2014