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Early Grant Awards Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

Early Funding for New Applications

Early Funding for Renewals

Early Awards for September Council

Early Start Date

Using Institutional Funds to Start Early

Early Funding for New Applications

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

What are early grant awards made before a Council meeting?

Early awards are grants funded before the usual timeframe, which is after second-level review by the Institute'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 earlier because expedited second-level review enables Council members to perform second-level review before the Council meeting.

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.

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.

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 Awards for September Council

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

Can I get an award for a September Council application before the next fiscal year?

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.

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

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 submission 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.

Using Institutional Funds to Start Early

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 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 May 24, 2012

Last Reviewed June 10, 2013