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Small and Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants

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

Purpose

To support small-scale research projects and encourage exploratory and developmental research.

Procedure

Small (R03) and exploratory/developmental research (R21) grants are designed for experienced investigators who want to pursue a new direction in research.

Both use electronic application, allow a project period of up to two years, and cannot be renewed.

Investigators who are not highly knowledgeable about NIH activity codes should contact a program officer for help before choosing a small grant. Go to When to Contact an NIAID Program Officer.

Small Research Grants (R03)

Small grants provide investigators with limited funds for a short period of time. NIAID accepts investigator-initiated small grant applications in response to the Small Research Grant Program (R03) parent announcement and issues its own PAs in high-priority areas of science. Find those announcements on our NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

Below are examples of projects suitable to a small grant.

  • Pilot or feasibility studies.
  • Secondary analysis of existing data.
  • Small, self-contained research projects.
  • Development of research methodology.
  • Development of new research technology.

Applicants

  • Submit an R03 application by Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications for investigator-initiated applications; for an Institute-specific program announcement, use the due date in the funding opportunity announcement.
  • Request up to $50,000 a year in direct costs.
  • Limit your Research Strategy to six pages. You may include reduced versions of relevant images.
  • For information on how to include publications and Appendix materials, go to What to Add and Not to Add in an Appendix in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
  • Create a modular budget using the PHS 398 Modular Budget form. Foreign institutions create a detailed budget using the Research and Related Budget form.
  • Small grants do not have any cost-sharing requirements.
  • You may revise and resubmit an R03 application once. Summarize changes in an Introduction letter that does not exceed one page.

Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants (R21)

Exploratory/developmental grants provide investigators with funding to introduce novel scientific ideas, model systems, tools, agents, targets, and technologies that have the potential to substantially advance biomedical research.

While they do help some investigators, for new investigators there is no evidence they create a path to independent research.

NIAID accepts R21 applications in response to the Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (R21) parent announcement for investigator-initiated projects and may also issue its own funding opportunity announcements.

Applicants

  • Submit an R21 application by Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications for investigator-initiated applications; for an NIAID-specific announcement, use the due date in the funding opportunity announcement.
  • Request up to $275,000 in direct costs for a two-year period, with no more than $200,000 in a single year.
  • Limit your Research Strategy to¬†six pages. You may include reduced versions of relevant images.
  • For information on how to include publications and Appendix materials, go to What to Add and Not to Add in an Appendix in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
  • Create a modular budget using the PHS 398 Modular Budget form. Foreign institutions create a detailed budget using the Research and Related Budget form.
  • Exploratory/developmental grants do not have any cost-sharing requirements.
  • You may revise and resubmit an R21 application once. Summarize changes in an Introduction letter that does not exceed one page.

Contacts

DAIDS: Madelon Halula

DAIT: Stacy Fergusen

DEA: Patricia Haggerty

DMID: Samuel Perdue

For funding opportunity announcements, contact the program officer listed in announcements.

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

Links

NIAID's Application portal

NIAID Funding Policy and Process SOP

Program Announcements SOP

Requests for Applications (RFA) SOP

Should You Apply for an R21? in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Small and Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants questions and answers

Last Updated August 15, 2014

Last Reviewed August 15, 2014