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General Application Information

Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

General

About the Application

General

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

Where can I find basic information on writing and formatting my application?

Find basic information in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Do I need to be a citizen to apply for a grant?

You do not need to be a citizen to apply for most research project grants, such as an R01, small grant (R03), or exploratory/developmental grant (R21). Some grant types require citizenship, such as training and small business grants. Read the funding opportunity announcement for details.

If you are a non-citizen working at a U.S. institution receiving an award, you must remain there long enough to finish your project. If you do not have a permanent visa, state in your application that your visa will allow you to remain in the U.S. long enough for you to be productive on the project.

Your institution is responsible for ensuring that you have an appropriate visa. For more information, see Ready for Independent Support? in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

If I have a choice, should I apply under the NIH parent PA or an institute-specific one?

The latter—see Is it better to apply under one of the broad NIH PAs or an institute-specific one? in our Small and Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants questions and answers page.

Where do I find information about funded NIH grants?

To find funded applications with abstracts, go to NIH's RePORTER.

Can I see a list of people registered in the eRA Commons?

No. Your signing official can retrieve a list of Commons users affiliated with your institution.

Are my application and grant confidential?

In general, unfunded applications are confidential, and funded applications and grants may be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

In the Privacy, Conduct, Conflict of Interest, and Clinical Research Ethics questions and answers, read:

For more information, go to these resources:

When are applications due?

See Strategy for a Successful Submission in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

May I submit my application late?

Typically, NIH allows lateness for circumstances out of your control—including natural disasters or personal tragedies—as well as service on an NIH study section.

See Rules for Late Applications in the Strategy for NIH Funding and the Late Applications SOP.

May I send supplementary, missing, or corrected materials after a receipt date?

Possibly. Read If You Need to Send Revised Information in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

For applications reviewed at NIAID, see May I send supplementary, missing,will will will will or corrected materials after a receipt date? in the Peer Review at NIAID questions and answers.

Does my new investigator status change on a pending R01 application if I receive a Notice of Award for another R01 grant?

See If I submit an R01 application as a new investigator but receive another R01, does my status change? in our New Investigator Advice questions and answers.

As an early-stage investigator, will I receive a summary statement for my R01 application in time to resubmit for the next review cycle?

See As an ESI, will I receive a summary statement for my R01 application in time to resubmit for the next review cycle? in our New Investigator Advice questions and answers.

How long will I have to wait for notification of review results?

Go to Know What a Summary Statement Means in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How long does it take to receive an award?

See How Long to Get the Grant in the Strategy for NIH Funding and How long does it take to receive an award? in the NIAID Funding Decisions questions and answers.

Might NIH return my application if it's not formatted properly?

Yes. You must follow formatting requirements in the instructions or risk having your application returned. This can happen if you exceed page limits, for example, or use improper fonts, font size, or margins.

For more, go to Master the Application in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

If I am reapplying because I didn't get funded, what should I do?

For more information, go to Part 6. If Not Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding and our Resubmission of Unfunded Applications questions and answers.

Which types of unfunded applications may I reuse, and how do I proceed?

Normally you cannot submit the same research project more than once to NIH (or any PHS agency), but there are exceptions, e.g.:

  • You are applying for a new activity code (e.g., R01, R21).
  • You are switching from targeted research (e.g., an RFA) to investigator-initiated (which includes PAs) or vice versa.

Be sure to submit it as a new application. For example, do not include an introduction describing the changes and improvements that you made.

Follow the due date and instructions in the funding opportunity announcement. Read more in Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

If your application does not succeed, in some cases you may use it again.

May I respond to an RFA with an application that's pending initial peer review?

No. NIH will not accept an application in response to a request for applications that is the same as any application pending initial peer review, unless you withdraw the pending application.

If my investigator-initiated application is not funded, may I submit it again in response to an RFA?

Yes, see the question above, Which types of unfunded applications may I reuse, and how do I proceed?

If my application responding to an RFA is not funded, may I submit it again as investigator-initiated?

Yes, see the question above, Which types of unfunded applications may I reuse, and how do I proceed?

If my application is not funded, may I submit it again using a new mechanism, e.g., from an R01 to an R21?

Yes, see the question above, Which types of unfunded applications may I reuse, and how do I proceed?

Can I submit the same application to another organization as well as to NIH?

Yes, as long as the organization is not a Public Health Service agency. NIH allows you to send the same application you submitted or are planning to submit to NIH elsewhere, e.g., a private foundation or a non-PHS agency, such as the Department of Defense.

Even if your application is pending award, you must list it in the other support information you send us before funding. Keep in mind that the other organization may have a similar requirement. You may accept only one of the awards.

May I submit two different R01 applications?

Yes, as long as the topic is different, you can submit as many applications as you like. Even after you're funded, this is generally a good idea because one application is rarely enough to keep the funds flowing. At any point, it may take several applications for one to succeed.

If you are applying under the same funding opportunity announcement, check the Number of Applications under the Executive Summary header to see whether more than one application is allowed.

Where can I find more questions and answers about about applying and peer review?

See the Application, Peer Review, and NIAID Investigator-Initiated Program Project (P01) Applications questions and answers.

About the Application

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

Should I include a cover letter?

We recommend that you include a cover letter for all applications, and you must have one for some. Read more in Create a Cover Letter in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How do I send in other support information?

NIH collects other support just-in-time. After your application is within the range of possible funding, we ask you for this information.

All electronic grant application packages have a field for attaching "Current and Pending Support" in the SF 424 Senior/Key Person component form. Ignore that field—NIH does not use it.

When we ask you for other support information, follow the sample in the SF 424 Application Guide. For paper applications, follow the PHS 398. Here's a Sample Other Support Form (PDF). Read more:

How should I prepare the budget if I am requesting six or seven years of funding?

Use Form Page 4 of the Budget Pages for the Initial Period of Support, and Form Page 5 for years two, three, four, and five. Use a second Form Page 5 for the budgets of years six and seven.

Can I include capital equipment in the budget for a new application?

Yes. It goes in the equipment category.

Do I need to include a data sharing plan? If so, where does it go in the application?

Applicants must share their final research data for all applications that seek $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year of the grant and for some program announcements and requests for applications. Regardless of cost, applications that are genome-wide association studies need a plan to share data.

Final research data is defined as the recorded factual material commonly accepted by the scientific community as necessary to document and validate research findings.

Describe your plan—or justify its absence—in a brief paragraph in your Research Plan. Put the plan in the PHS 398 Resource Sharing Plan Section for a paper application or the Resource Sharing Plan attachment to the PHS 398 Research Plan form for an electronic application. It does not count toward the page limit.

You may include additional information on data sharing in other sections if appropriate. Find more information about data sharing on the NIH Data Sharing Policy Web page.

Also see:

What type of materials can I include in the Appendix?

Go to What to Add and Not to Add in an Appendix in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How should I cite references? Should I cite all names for a large multi-author paper?

Give complete citations, including titles and authors. Read more on Connect to Science With Citations in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Do biosketches of technicians, students, and collaborators need a personal statement?

The personal statement is part of the biosketch, and most grants require one for all key personnel, which includes consultants and technical staff who play a substantive role in the project.

To be sure, read the instructions in your funding opportunity announcement. One exception given in the SF 424 Application Guide applies to training grants for faculty who participate in the training program but not the research projects.

For more guidance, see Emphasize Expertise in Biosketches in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

How do I know if an application uses multiple PIs?

NIH allows multiple PIs for most grant types. To be sure, check the funding opportunity announcement.

For more information, go to NIH's Multiple Principal Investigators and read Design a Project in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

If I have a subaward agreement, what budget information should I submit for my collaborators?

Read Where to Add Consortium and Contractual Information in the Strategy for NIH Funding and our Subawards (Consortium Agreements) for Grants SOP.

May a subcontractor subcontract to another organization?

For grants, no. All subcontractors must have a direct subcontract with the awardee institution. A subcontractor to a subcontractor is not allowed.

For contracts, subcontractors can have subcontractors.

How do I submit a video or other material that cannot be sent electronically?

See How do I submit a video or other material that cannot be sent electronically? in the Submitting and Validating Your Electronic Application questions and answers.

How do I sign my application?

You do not need a PI signature on applications, progress reports, or prior approval requests. Instead, your institution asks you to sign a principal investigator signature assurance for each application.

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

You can find more questions and answers about grant applications at Applying for a Grant, Writing a Great Grant Application, and other Application questions and answers.

For questions and suggestions, 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 September 08, 2012

Last Reviewed September 08, 2012