Concepts: Potential Opportunities
Concepts represent early planning stages for initiatives: program announcements, requests for applications, and solicitations.
Below we post the concepts Council approves a few weeks after each advisory Council meeting—go to the Advisory Council for the schedule. To get an email alert when we post new concepts, sign up at NIAID Email Alerts Subscription Center and pick “Concepts, Potential Funding Opportunities” as a topic of interest.
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Together with focus groups from the extramural research community, NIAID starts planning initiatives to address research opportunities and needs. These ideas are called concepts at this stage, which starts two years before we award the resulting grants or contracts.
Then at its biannual planning retreats, NIAID executives discuss which concepts to publish as initiatives—RFAs, PAs, or solicitations. Staff spend the next six months refining the concepts.
According to law, experts in the field, usually Council members, must approve a concept before we can announce an initiative. Council acts as a board of directors, exerting approval authority for moving a concept forward.
Initiatives that do move on become RFAs and PAs published in the NIH Guide and funding opportunity announcements in Grants.gov, or NIAID Contract Solicitations published in FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities and sometimes in the Guide.
Council's lay and scientific members also review, comment on, and approve an initiative's characteristics, such as budget levels, mechanism (e.g., grant or contract, grant type), and other key features.
At the subcommittee meetings that take place during the Council meeting, program staff present an outline of a proposed concept for Council's scrutiny. (NIAID has three Council subcommittees, one for each of its extramural program divisions.)
For each concept, the subcommittee looks deeply at its scientific merit, relative priority, appropriate budget, and funding mechanism. Council's regular and ad hoc members approve, disapprove, or suggest modifications to each concept.
After fine-tuning by Council and the research community, Council-approved concepts become published PAs, RFAs, or solicitations depending on their Institute-wide priority and the amount of funds we have to spend for that fiscal year.
We post Council-approved concept on this page to show you which areas of science are of highest priority to NIAID.
While not all concepts become initiatives, they highlight NIAID research interests and are good topics for investigator-initiated applications.
Concepts selected to be published as initiatives become part of the NIH budget plan, which is later incorporated into the President's Budget proposal to Congress.
NIAID publishes the NIAID Funding Opportunities List based on Council-approved concepts from the previous year. Both the President's Budget proposal and initiative publication occur one to two years before we award the grants or contracts.
A program officer in your area of science can give you application advice, NIAID's perspective on your research, and confirmation that NIAID will accept your application.
Find contacts and instructions at When to Contact a NIAID Program Officer.