NIAID Funding News July 1, 2015

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles. 

Focus on Foreign Investigators: Eligibility Requirements

Among the institutes at NIH, NIAID is a leader in funding foreign investigators, in large part because many of the infectious diseases in our research portfolio impact public health abroad. For a recent example, read NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci’s article “Ebola—Underscoring the Global Disparities in Health Care Resources.”

Given our international reach, we’ve planned a series of articles that will focus specifically on funding issues facing foreign investigators. In this first article, we look at funding eligibility requirements for investigators at foreign institutions. We will also preview several upcoming articles below.

Find an Opportunity

Reminder: The application due date for the Global Infectious Disease Research Administration Development Award for Low- and Middle-Income Country Institutions (G11) is July 15, 2015, so act quickly if you plan to apply. The award provides training opportunities for grants management officials at foreign institutions to promote best practices at their institutions. Read Train the Trainers on Global Research Administration to learn more.

If you are new to the NIH funding process, start by reading Types of Funding Opportunities, which explains the difference between investigator-initiated and targeted research and gives advice for determining whether a particular opportunity fits your research.

Once you’ve chosen your approach, you’ll want to keep the following resources handy:

Verify Your Eligibility

Every funding opportunity announcement (FOA) includes Section III. Eligibility Information. In this section, you will see text that specifically states whether foreign institutions are eligible for that FOA. For example, High-Priority Immunology Grants (R01) does not allow foreign entities to apply, whileAccelerating Improvements in the HIV Care Continuum (R01) does.

Although we often address principal investigators (PIs) as grantees, your organization submits the grant application and is therefore technically the recipient of funding. As such, when considering your eligibility for funding, it is your institution that matters most.

You may have also noticed that High-Priority Immunology Grants (R01) allows foreign components. Much of the NIH-funded research that takes place outside of the U.S. is completed through collaborations or subawards with a U.S. grantee—a topic we will discuss in more detail in a later issue.

The chart below shows the mechanisms for which an investigator at a foreign institution can and cannot submit an investigator-initiated application.

Foreign Institution Eligibility for Parent FOAs Supported by NIAID

Foreign Institutions Are Eligible Foreign Institutions Are Not Eligible
Research Project Grants (R01R03R21)


Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial Planning (R34) and Implementation (R01U01) Grants

Some NRSA Fellowship Awards (F31F32)—Note: The individual PI must be a U.S. citizen or noncitizen national or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

Administrative Supplements

NIAID Investigator-Initiated Program Project Applications (P01)


Small Business Technology Transfer (R41, R42) and Small Business Innovation Research (R43, R44) Grants

NRSA Individual Predoctoral M.D./Ph.D. or Other Dual-Doctoral Degree Fellowship (F30)

Career Development Awards (K awards)—Note: Foreign PIs at U.S. institutions are eligible for theK99/R00 award.

Training Grants (T32T35)

Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15)

NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (R13/U13)

It’s important to remember that applications from foreign institutions must include either expertise or resources that are not easily available in the U.S.—for example, access to a unique study population.

Reviewers will assess whether comparable work is being done in the U.S., and if it is, the application will likely be less competitive in peer review. Those that score well in peer review are then put before NIAID’s advisory Council, where special consideration is given to the merits of funding research at a foreign institution.

You should also check the subsection Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator) within Section III. Eligibility Information to ensure that you are personally eligible. Typically, anyone with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research is eligible, although some targeted opportunities list additional requirements.

Going Forward

Once you’ve found a funding opportunity to apply for and have verified that you are eligible, follow the same advice we give all potential applicants: start early, read the FOA thoroughly, adhere to the applicable page limits, and get in touch with the scientific/research contact listed at the bottom of the FOA.

You can also find resources at NIAID International Awards.

In the past, we’ve seen foreign investigators new to NIAID’s funding process find success by reaching out to their U.S. counterparts for help and advice. Such networking has often led to scientific collaboration through the use of foreign components and subawards. Again, High-Priority Immunology Grants (R01) is an example of a FOA that does not allow foreign institutions to apply but does allow a U.S. organization to include a foreign component as part of a research proposal.

If your institution hasn’t applied for NIH funding before, it will need to register first at and then at eRA Commons. ReadGet Ready Now to Apply Electronically in the Strategy for NIH Funding and Registration Instructions for Domestic and Foreign Organizations to learn more.

Future Funding News Topics

Check back for more articles in our Focus on Foreign Investigators series, where we will cover the following:

  • Requirements for foreign components and subawards
  • Requirements for foreign investigators at U.S. institutions
  • Navigating key electronic systems
  • Managing your grant: receiving and spending money
  • Managing your grant: reporting requirements
  • Actions you can take as a grantee and those that require prior approval
  • Renewals, extensions, and closeouts

Finally, if you are pursuing or managing an international award and need assistance, know whom to contact for help. For general questions about NIAID policies for international awards, contact the Office of Research Training and Special Programs or +1 240 669 7610. For questions about a specific funding opportunity, reach out to the program officer listed as the scientific/research contact within the FOA. After you're approved for an award, a grants management specialist can help you understand how NIAID disburses funds.

Header: Opportunities and Resources. 

Take Part in Research Center for Asthma and Allergic Diseases

Through a recent funding opportunity announcement (FOA), NIAID continues its decades-long support of the Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Centers (AADCRC) program. Established more than 40 years ago, it has been integral in promoting innovative, multidisciplinary clinical and basic research on asthma and allergic diseases.

The FOA, which uses the U19 activity code, seeks highly integrated and synergistic research programs to study the mechanisms underlying the onset and progression of diseases such as asthma, rhinitis (allergic and non-allergic), chronic rhinosinusitis, atopic dermatitis, food allergy, and drug allergy.

The ultimate goal is to better understand the pathogenesis of these conditions and provide a rational foundation for new, effective treatments and prevention strategies.

Your Proposed Research

To stress the integration and focus of the applications on human disease, the majority of the proposed research within each application should be defined as NIH human subjects research (see Am I proposing Human Subjects Research?) or use human material, including primary human cells, biologic samples, and clinical data.

You may include animal research if experimentation is not possible in humans or with human materials, but you must integrate the animal studies into a plan that will translate animal findings to human diseases.

For areas of research interest, see the FOA (linked below).

Application Components

In addition to the overall summary component of the application, you'll need to include components such as those below. Moreover, component projects and cores within a single application should relate to not only a central theme relevant to the specified diseases of interest, but also the other components within the same application.

Required Components

Administrative Core: headed up by the project director/principal investigator (PD/PI) who is responsible for the overall management, communication, coordination, and supervision of the Program.

Research Projects: must contain at least two research projects organized around a common theme or hypothesis, with demonstrated synergy among the research projects, administrative core, and service cores (if proposed).

Infrastructure and Opportunity Fund (IOF) Management Core: responsible for administering the IOF, which will provide up to $500,000 total costs per year to support new and pilot research projects led by early-stage investigators within the AADCRC, as well as for developing resources that the AADCRC Steering Committee* may deem necessary.

*PDs/PIs funded under this program will form a Steering Committee after award that will serve as the main governing body for the cooperative group.

Optional Component

Service Core(s): Clinical Core, Data Management and Analysis Core, or other similar Cores may be proposed if they support the Center as a whole and directly support at least two of the proposed research projects.

Find More Information

Get full details on the FOA in the June 3, 2015 Guide announcement. Optional letters of intent are due September 2, 2015. The application deadline is October 2, 2015. If you have questions, direct them to Dr. Gang Dong, the scientific/research contact listed in the FOA.

To learn more about the AADCRC program, including current projects, go to Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Centers (AADCRCs).

Find additional information about multiproject grants in our Guidance for Preparing a Multiproject Research Application.

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Use the Host to Limit Antibacterial Resistance

Consider applying for funds to fight antibacterial resistance using host-targeted therapeutics. Your proposed milestone-driven translational research strategy must focus on a host-encoded function/structure required for infection, replication, virulence, proliferation, or pathogenesis.

The funding opportunity announcement (FOA), which uses the R01 activity code, lists some example approaches you could take:

  • Reduce or eliminate the availability or activity of host molecules that are critical for pathogen infection or replication.
  • Inhibit host functions required for pathogen virulence or pathogenicity.
  • Modulate host immune response to combat infection or reduce disease pathology.
  • Develop novel approaches that exploit the immunomodulatory functions of host defensins.
  • Modulate host metabolism to reduce availability of nutrients or metabolites critical to pathogen survival.

Your therapeutic approach must target at least one bacterial pathogen listed in CDC’s report Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. Start with a candidate therapeutic supported by proof-of-concept data.

The project milestones should advance the candidate therapeutic through the product development pathway. To define your milestones, see the list of suggested activities in the FOA.

Note that all applications must demonstrate substantive investment by at least one industry participant.

Read the June 5, 2015 Guide announcement for more information, including application instructions and scientific contacts.

Send optional letters of intent by August 17, 2015. Application deadline is September 17, 2015.

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Get Funding to Harness Big Data to Halt HIV

Our Division of AIDS will fund Big Data applications to research biomedical, behavioral, social patterns, and other determinants that shed light on HIV acquisition, transmission, and long-term control.

For this funding opportunity, which uses the R01 activity code, you can receive up to five years of support to leverage advancements in bioinformatics and other research methods to assemble multiple big data sources, apply innovative analytics, and create meaningful visualization of big data to study HIV transmission, comorbidities, and the treatment and prevention continuum.

To achieve these objectives, you may need an interdisciplinary team of investigators with expertise in bioethics and a combination of scientists from the fields of epidemiology, bioinformatics, mathematical modeling, statistics, social/behavioral sciences, or HIV prevention and care.

In your application, address both of the following goals:

  • Improve understanding of HIV risk- and health-seeking behaviors and the complex contextual environment in which they occur.
  • Develop and advance the ethical framework to evaluate Big Data methods in the constantly changing environment of available digital data. Projects should explore and address relevant ethical challenges in conducting big data research including privacy concerns, questions about access to specific types of data, communication among users of data and the research community.

Despite advancements in treatment and prevention, HIV incidence rates have changed little over the past two decades and have gotten worse in some parts of the world.

We anticipate that effective use of big data can offer insights to transform HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and care.

For more information, including application instructions, deadlines, and specific areas of research, read the June 5, 2015 Guide announcement.

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Learn and Tell Others How Big Data Can Transform HIV/AIDS Research

NIAID's Division of AIDS, the National Institute of Mental Health's Division of AIDS Research, NIH's Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are hosting a workshop titled "Harnessing Big Data to Stop HIV" on July 13 and 14. Attendance will be limited but videostreaming is available.

The first day's activities include panels to discuss definitions, ethics, and applications of big data.

Day two will review research methods that investigators have already started using for big data, then consider how to best use these and other techniques to address the following critical areas of research:

  • HIV among women and girls
  • HIV among men who have sex with men
  • Identifying those recently infected with HIV
  • HIV continuum of care
  • Ethical, legal, and policy challenges in big data research on HIV

You can attend in person by registering ahead or catch it online at NIH's videocast (no registration required):

Learn more and get your registration form at Harnessing Big Data to Stop HIV.

Header: Other News. 

NIH Announces Strategy to Improve Reproducibility of Funded Research

In an effort to advance the highest level of scientific integrity, NIH has unveiled a strategy to improve the reproducibility of the research it funds in two June 9, 2015 Guide notices: Enhancing Reproducibility Through Rigor and Transparency and Consideration of Sex as a Biological Variable in NIH-Funded Research.

The notices announce NIH’s intention to encourage greater consideration of scientific premise, rigorous experimental design, and consideration of sex and other relevant biological variables by providing new guidelines for applicants and reviewers. The changes will be incorporated into the SF 424 (Research and Related) Application Guide and funding opportunity announcements beginning this fall and will be in effect for applications submitted for the January 25, 2016 due date and beyond. 

In short, you will need to show in the Research Strategy section of your application that you’ve critically evaluated the scientific premise and rigor of your research, and considered sex and all other relevant biological variables. You will report what you have done to authenticate key biological and chemical resources in a new attachment under the Other Research Plan sections.

To learn more about NIH’s implementation plan, read Rigor and ReproducibilityRigor and Reproducibility Frequently Asked Questions, and the January 9, 2015 Rock Talk blog post “Enhancing Reproducibility in NIH-Supported Research Through Rigor and Transparency.”

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Don't Lose Your Grant Because of Human Subjects or Animal Welfare Concerns

Does your summary statement indicate a concern (code 44) about the protection of human subjects or animal welfare in your application?

If you're within or anywhere near our payline, address those concerns now. Don't wait. Enlist help if you need to.

At this time of the fiscal year, expect short turnaround times for requests from NIAID staff. If your application has a bar to award and NIH doesn't approve your paperwork by mid-August, we may have to leave your application unfunded.

If your research involves human subjects, we may be able to give you only a restricted award that prevents you from spending some or all of your money until that bar has been cleared.

Contact your program officer immediately if you're delayed (or anticipate delays) in getting any information to us.

To learn more, read our May 7, 2015 article "Act Sooner Than Later to Resolve a Bar to Award," as well as Bars to Grant Awards—Human Subjects SOP and Bars to Grant Awards—Research Animals SOP.

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News Briefs

Guidelines for Selecting Nonscientific and Nonaffiliated IACUC Members. In a June 9, 2015 Guide notice, NIH specified the ideal qualifications of nonscientific and nonaffiliated Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) members. In short, they must represent the general community interests in the proper care and use of animals and must not be a laboratory animal user or former user, affiliated with the institution, or an immediate family member of someone affiliated with the institution.

Register Now for the NIH Regional Seminar in San Diego, California. NIH will host a regional seminar on program funding and grants administration in San Diego, California, from October 14 to 16, 2015. You can now read the Agenda and register to attend atRegOnline. For more information, read the June 19, 2015 Guide notice.

Change to Embedded Code for NIAID Syndication. On June 29, 2015, NIAID moved its syndication content to the HHS Syndication Storefront. For any NIAID-embedded syndication code to continue to function, you must update the code on all pages with new embed code snippets available at the HHS Storefront.

Header: Advice Corner. 

Get News From Beyond Funding News

You're reading Funding News right now, but are you aware of your other options to get news from NIAID? We offer additional email alert subscription categories as well as a variety of social media channels.

Since each option brings you different types of news, we suggest checking your subscriptions and the social media channels regularly to see if you're getting all the information you want.

Email Alert Subscriptions

Enter your address at Quick Subscribe and you'll see all the email topics offered by NIAID.

Focusing on the Research Funding section, here are the topics offered and when you'll receive an email.

Research Funding Topic Event Triggering Email
Concepts, Potential Funding Opportunities Council-cleared Concepts posted.
Fiscal Year Paylines Fiscal year Paylines set. (We don't send messages for interim paylines.)
Newsletter, NIAID Funding News Every new issue of NIAID Funding News.
Top Policy Changes Entry added to the Top Policy Changes page.
Funding Opportunities New NIAID Funding Opportunities matching your choices:
  • R&D Contracts (requests for proposals and broad agency announcements)
  • Single Project Research Grants (e.g., R01 and R21)
  • Small Business Awards (SBIR and STTR)
  • Training (T), Career (K), and Fellowship (F) Awards
  • Program Projects (P) and Cooperative Agreements (U)
  • Research Supplements (e.g., administrative, diversity, and reentry)

After you click "submit" on the Quick Subscribe page, the subscription form offers information from other organizations as well. Select from those or choose "close" to finish.

Social Media Channels

Here are more ways to get connected through social media.

  • @NIAIDFunding on Twitter—funding opportunities, newsletter announcements, plus notice of key updates for the Research Funding website section.
  • @NIAIDNews on Twitter—allergy and disease awareness outreach and news on scientific discoveries.
  • FacebookTumblr, and Google+—news on scientific discoveries and notices about this newsletter.
  • YouTube—videos on health and science, plus playlists on key topics.
  • Flickr—illustrations and photos related to NIAID's areas of scientific focus.
  • Pinterest—scientific images, photo essays, booklets, videos, and more.

More Ways to Stay Informed

For NIH email lists and more, see our new guide Stay Informed About Policy Changes and News.

Header: Reader Questions. 

Feel free to send us a question at After responding to you, we may ask your permission to include your question in the newsletter, incorporate it into the NIAID Research Funding site, or both.

“When I submit a progress report, do I need to use the updated biosketch format?”—anonymous reader

Yes, the new format applies to all programs (e.g., research, training, and fellowship) and all types of applications (i.e., new, resubmission, revision, renewal, and progress reports).

Find answers to questions like this at Biosketches Frequently Asked Questions.

“Whom should I ask for help when I'm not sure whether NIAID participates in a funding opportunity?”—anonymous reader

You can tell whether NIAID participates in a funding opportunity that interests you by checking to see if we are listed under Components of Participating Organizations, near the top of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). If the FOA covers our research areas, but we're not listed as participating in it, then we don't have staff assigned to support that opportunity.

Still, we will help you as best we can. You can email about any funding opportunity NIH publishes in theGuide. If we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to the sponsoring institute.

That said, to save yourself time and effort, go directly to the source—look for scientific/research contacts in Section VII. Agency Contacts of the FOA.

To see only those FOAs that NIAID participates in, go to NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

Header: New Funding Opportunities. 

See other announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

Content last reviewed on July 1, 2015