Know the Key Aspects That Differentiate R25 and T35 Training Grants

Funding News Edition: July 07, 2022
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As you plan how to improve your institution’s training program, you may wonder which grant type would be most appropriate: Research Education Program (R25) or Short-Term Institutional Research Training (T35). Both programs offer five-year awards to supplement established training and education programs with part-time educational opportunities.

This article summarizes R25 and T35 grants, then compares factors that may help you choose between the two award types. We don’t cover T32 further in this article because T32 supports full-time learners, unlike the more comparable T35 and R25 award types.

R25 Overview and Opportunities

All Research Education Program (R25) awards support creative educational activities to complement, augment, or enhance an institution’s training program for the future biomedical workforce.

Most R25 funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) support learning activities for undergraduates through early-career faculty. Good news, the reissued NIAID Research Education Program (R25, Clinical Trial Not Allowed) FOA now includes undergraduate education as well. 

Search for NIAID R25 Funding Opportunities. We have R25 FOAs to advance careers of a diverse research workforce, provide international research ethics education, and more. These FOAs have different requirements and deadlines, so read carefully.

T35 Overview and Opportunities

Short-Term (T35) and National Research Service Award (T32) Institutional Research Training Grants (T) both provide domestic, nonprofit, graduate-level academic institutions with funds to educate predoctoral and postdoctoral candidates.

The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grant (Parent T35) FOA requires your appointees to pursue research training for 8 to 12 weeks, 40 hours each week. Use your T35 funds for stipends, tuition, fees, and more as detailed in the “What Do Training Grants Pay For?” section of Salary Cap, Stipends, & Training Funds.

Your Choice: R25 or T35

The following comparisons should help you decide whether your institution’s program and students would be best served by a Research Education Program (R25) or Short-Term Research Training (T35) grant.

Length and type of support. Both R25 and T35 provide up to five years of funding that can supplement (not replace or overlap with) a current federally-funded training program. R25 supports educational activities as long as the trainees are not full-time (all year), while T35 specifies the weeks and hours of training as described above. And again, there are R25 initiatives specialized to priorities like advancing careers of a diverse workforce or developing international research ethics education.

Participant educational levels. Most R25 awards support the undergraduate through early-career stages. T35 supports only the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels. Note that because the T35 is an NRSA, trainees will need to remain within the NRSA support limits: five years for predoctoral trainees, six years for dual-degree training, and three years for postdoctoral fellows.

Citizenship. Though FOAs may specify exceptions, both R25 and T35 programs typically support learners with U.S. citizenship or a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551). The T35 also supports education for U.S. noncitizen nationals.

Application budgets. Consider the following:

  • Each NIAID R25 FOA specifies a different dollar limit for annual direct costs, while the T35 FOA sets no specific budget limit. For both award types, your proposed budget must reflect the actual needs of the project.
  • The T35 must follow NRSA funding policies and regulations, which includes covering stipends and tuition. In contrast, the R25 largely does not support stipend and tuition (unless strongly justified). The R25 instead provides funds for other aspects of the training program and can provide compensation to the participants.
  • Another key difference is that the R25 allows the principal investigator to request salary and fringe benefits, but the T35 does not. Both programs are capped at 8 percent indirect costs.

Application logistics. The required Application Sections vary; the R25 requires a Specific Aims section while the T35 needs a Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research and a Plan for Instruction in Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility.

NIAID accepts R25 applications on three Standard Due Dates for both AIDS-related and non-AIDS-related applications, while NIAID has two T35 Application Submission Dates each for AIDS-related and non-AIDS-related applications.

More Information on R25 and T35

Find full details in the FOAs, the R25 section of Research Projects (R25 and R38), and throughout our Training Grants (T) overview. You can also check out our other NIAID Training and Career Development Grant Programs.

If you plan to apply to NIAID for an R25 or T35 award, we encourage you to contact for custom advice on choosing an opportunity and award type suited to your program’s needs.

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