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Intramural Scientist Collaboration on Extramural Funded Grants and Contracts SOP

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Some links will work for NIAID staff only.

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.


To assist intramural scientists in initiating collaborations with scientists at extramural academic institutions, nonprofits, and industry.


NIH strongly encourages collaborations between intramural and extramural investigators. However, staff participation in extramural grants and contracts have potential implications for conflicts of interest, ethics, technology transfer, intellectual property, publication, and the exchange of research materials.

Scroll to the bottom of this document for links to policies and regulations that govern the conduct and funding of intramural-extramural collaborations.

Procedures are provided for the following staff roles:

Intramural Scientists

If you want to collaborate with an extramural investigator, do the following:

  • Discuss the proposed collaboration with the NIAID Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office
    Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Find Your TTIPO Contact.
  • Discuss your intentions with your intramural division contact to get guidance on Office of Ethics (OE) and TTIPO reviews, standards of conduct, material transfer, approval process, and other considerations before the collaboration:
  • Complete this formal letter of collaboration template that will eventually be signed by your lab chief and scientific director and included in the grant application or contract proposal.
  • Have the intramural division contact review your draft letter, forward it to TTIPO for comment, and assist you with obtaining the scientific director's signature. The letter should be on DHHS letterhead. 
  • Send copies of the letter signed by the scientific director to the Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) director, OE, TTIPO, your lab chief and division director, and the deputy director of science management and operations.
  • You may be a key personnel or consultant, have primary responsibility for a Specific Aim of an R01 grant, or serve as leader of a subproject on a multiproject grant. Consult the Opportunities and Guidelines to Facilitate Scientific Collaborations portal.
  • Make sure you are not the principal investigator (PI) on an extramural grant or contract unless the project begins after your federal employment ends. For more information on becoming a PI on a grant or contract, see NIH Intramural Scientists as Principal Investigators on Grant Applications and Contract Proposals (NIH Policy Manual 54204/6003-1).
  • You may apply for grants from both federal and nonfederal organizations under certain conditions after getting the approval of NIAID's deputy director for science management and operations.  Funds from these grants cannot be used to support your intramural salary but can be used to support the salary of a contractor, extramural scientist, postdoctoral trainee, or student. See Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Grants and Other Conditional Gifts for Research.
  • Be aware of the following:
    • While you may write a description of the work that the applicant can use, you may not write an application or contract proposal.
    • If a request for applications (RFA) or request for proposals (RFP) indicates that expertise or materials, such as cell lines, are available, these resources must be available to any requester responding to the RFA or RFP.
    • You may be authorized to collaborate as an official duty as long as you are not compensated with a salary or sponsored travel from extramural funds. Under limited circumstances, an institute may authorize travel and related expenses from a nonfederal source receiving federal grants or contracts. See Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Sponsored Travel for process and approvals.
    • You may seek advice from your lab chief and division contact about whether your collaboration will be considered substantial.

Intramural Division Contacts

The intramural division contacts guide intramural investigators through the collaboration documentation, review, and approval process.

  • Send draft collaboration letters to TTIPO for review.
  • Ensure resolution of any conflicts identified by TTIPO or OE.
  • Review the collaboration letter to ensure that recommended changes from TTIPO or OE have been incorporated and all points in the collaboration letter have been addressed.
  • Obtain the intramural scientist's and scientific director's signature for approval.
  • Send a copy of the signed letter to TTIPO and OE.

Extramural Program Staff

As an extramural program officer you may be engaged in an issue where an intramural scientist wants to collaborate with an extramural grantee.

Should this occur in your discussions with scientists either in intramural or extramural, keep in mind the following:

  • Refer scientists to the appropriate intramural contact listed below. These contacts will guide investigators through the process and provide information, e.g., lab chief and scientific director approvals, how to obtain formal letters of collaboration that will be a part of a grant application or contract proposal, potential conflicts of interest, and review by TTIPO.
  • NIH grant or contract funds cannot be used to support any aspect of intramural activities.  However, extramural scientists working in intramural labs may bring their own resources even if those supplies and materials were purchased with grant or contract funds.
  • For grants, make sure you indicate in the Program Officer Checklist located in eRA’s Program Module whether an intramural staff person is substantially involved in the research.
  • For contracts, the contracting officer is the focal point of any exchange or communication with potential offerors once the solicitation has been released. If you are a contracting officer's representative, talk to your contracting officer about the potential for an intramural collaboration or resources being available to all potential offerors so that these resources can be posted in the solicitation if the contracting officer determines that an unfair competitive advantage would be created if only one offeror had access to the resource.
  • You cannot discuss the review or award status of an application or proposal that involves a collaboration with an intramural research scientist. Instead, the intramural scientist must communicate directly with the applicant or offeror organization. You may not share this information with anyone, and the applicant or offeror organization has the right to refuse to release this information.
  • Never broker a deal on your own. The intramural lab chief and scientific director will determine, review, and approve the extent and nature of any collaboration. If a collaboration involves a contract, talk to the contracting officer to explore whether the collaboration is critical for successful contract performance and the solicitation should make the resource available to all offerors.

Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office

TTIPO receives all inquiries concerning collaborations from the intramural division contact or directly from the scientists involved.

  • Consult with the investigator to determine if a Material Transfer Agreement, Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or other agreement is required.
  • If the collaboration involves applying for nonfederal grants, receiving grants from other federal agencies, or accepting gifts, follow the procedures at Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Grants and Other Conditional Gifts for Research.
  • Establish appropriate internal controls for reviewing and reporting collaborations to the Office of Science Management and Operations.

Office of Ethics

OE becomes involved when there is a question of financial conflict of interest or other ethics issues.

Grants Management Program

Grants management staff consult NIH Policy 54815—Implementation of Cooperative Agreements for the following:

  • Policy on intramural collaboration with extramural organizations that may require funding the research as a cooperative agreement.
  • Policy that an intramural scientist may not receive extramural funds to participate in a cooperative agreement. 

If the Program Officer Checklist indicates that an intramural staff person is substantially involved in the research:

  • Bring this to the attention of the chief grants management officer who will work with the DEA director, extramural division director, and OSPIDA to determine if the grant needs to be converted to a cooperative agreement. 

If intramural scientists are involved as collaborators in extramural research, add a special term to the Notice of Award that restricts the transfer directly or indirectly (such as salary, travel, equipment) of extramural funds to the intramural lab.

Office of Acquisitions

The Office of Acquisitions provides intramural investigators, extramural program officers, and extramural scientists guidance on any resources, funding, or personnel matters relating to a contract.

  • If a contract involves intramural resources, state the availability of these resources in the solicitation. Proposals that include intramural resources not listed as available in the solicitation will not proceed to peer review, as government resources included in one offeror's proposal must be available to all potential offerors.
  • If intramural scientists are collaborators in a contract, include:
    • A copy of the scientific director’s approval in the contract file.
    • A statement in the Summary of Negotiations that terms and conditions have been added to the Advance Understandings Article of the contract restricting the transfer of extramural funds to the intramural lab. 
  • The Advance Understandings Article will include terms and conditions that restrict the transfer directly or indirectly (such as salary, travel, equipment) of extramural funds to the intramural lab.


DCR (intramural)

DIR (intramural)

VRC (intramural)

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.TTIPO Contact

OE Contact

DEA Contact

OA Contact

OA Alternate

GMP Contact

If you have knowledge to share or want more information on this topic, email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.


NIAID Extramural Program Staff Seeking Grants and Resources From Nonfederal Sources SOP

Collaborations of NIH Scientists with Extramural Scientists

Participation in Grants/Collaboration

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.NIAID Outside Activities Require Approval

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.NIAID Ethics

Service by Intramural Scientists on a Scientific or External Advisory Board for a DHHS-funded Project

Official Duty Activities Involving Outside Organizations (See "Conflicts Assessment Sheet and Case Studies: Extramural Official Duties and Conflicts of Interest.") 

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Grants and Other Conditional Gifts for Research

NIAID Gift Fund

NIH Intramural Research Sourcebook

Model Agreements and Definitions

Last Updated August 15, 2014

Last Reviewed August 15, 2014