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Grant Application, Paper SOP

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


To provide applicants with forms and instructions to administrative supplements for complex award types.


Applicants must submit a paper PHS 398 application for administrative supplements for complex award types such as program projects.

All other grant types now use electronic applications. To be sure, check the funding opportunity announcement.

The PHS 398 application kit has important instructions for preparing and submitting an NIH grant application. Investigators responding to a FOA should also follow the instructions in the NIH Guide announcement since they supercede the PHS 398 rules.


  • Carefully follow all instructions, including those for special items, such as human subjects, research animals, recombinant DNA, and other sensitive areas. NIAID has additional requirements for clinical applications and select agents defined in our Clinical Terms of Award and Select Agent Terms of Award for NIAID Grants.
  • NIAID's General Application Information and Paper Applications Only gives you information in question and answer format.
  • Follow the special instructions for items such as human subjects, research animals, recombinant DNA, and other sensitive areas. For advice on doing research that has extra requirements, read Will Your Application Involve Policy Areas With Special Requirements? in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
  • Pay attention to formatting requirements. NIH will not accept applications that are not formatted correctly.
  • At PHS 398, NIH gives you fillable forms in two formats: MS Word (DOC) and portable document format (PDF). MS Word allows you to format text, insert graphics, and save your forms in most word processors. PDF lets you fill out and print the forms using the free Acrobat Reader, but you cannot save them unless you have the full Adobe Acrobat software or another full-featured PDF editor. Read more about saving at Adobe Acrobat or PDF Forms.
  • If you have previously downloaded forms and instructions to your desktop, gets fresh copies from NIH to ensure you have the most current version. NIH updates the forms and instructions frequently.
  • NIH doesn't immediately revise the PHS 398 instructions as changes occur. For updates, see Notable Changes Made to PHS 398.


Rebecca Wagenaar-Miller, Division of Extramural Activities

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.


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Foreign and International Grants and Components SOP

Grant Application, Electronic SOP

Human Subjects SOPs

Just-in-Time SOP

Modular Grants SOP

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Last Updated April 04, 2016

Last Reviewed April 20, 2015