Quiz Yourself on NIH Grant Funding Terminology

Funding News Edition: May 17, 2023
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A HISTEP student checks the eye color or her fruit flies during a genetics experiment.

We use requests for information to collect public feedback on priority topics and requests for proposals to solicit proposals for research and development contracts.

Credit: NIH

How familiar are you with NIAID’s application and grant terminology? Test your knowledge by taking the quiz below and pay attention to the explanations for each answer.


  1. Which of the following is a type of notice of funding opportunity?
    1. RFA
    2. RFI
    3. RFP (See answer)
  2. For which of the following does NIAID not have Institute-specific due dates?
    1. Program project (P) grants
    2. Training (T) grants
    3. Fellowship (F) grants (See answer)
  3. Which activity code is considered substantial when determining new PI status?
    1. R21
    2. DP2
    3. R03 (See answer)
  4. Which of the following applications must follow big grants procedures?
    1. Clinical trial, with direct costs of $250,000 or more in any 1 year
    2. Investigator-initiated, with direct costs of $500,000 or more in any 1 year
    3. Solicited, with direct costs of $500,000 or more in any 1 year (See answer)
  5. How does NIAID measure investigator effort?
    1. Time
    2. Salary
    3. Publications (See answer)
  6. The NIH definition of a clinical trial does not include
    1. Studies using a behavioral intervention
    2. Secondary research with biological specimens
    3. Studies without a comparison group (See answer)
  7. Which of the following reviews an application’s cover letter?
    1. Program officer
    2. Scientific review officer
    3. Study section (See answer)
  8. A grant recipient’s subrecipient may
    1. Be a foreign institution
    2. Submit a progress report
    3. Make its own subaward (See answer)
  9. Which of the following is not a peer review criterion?
    1. Significance
    2. Approach
    3. Budget (See answer)
  10.  How many times can you resubmit an application?
    1. Zero
    2. One
    3. Two (See answer)


1. a. RFA—NIAID uses notices of funding opportunities (NOFOs) to publicly announce our intention to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements. A request for applications (RFA) solicits grant applications focused on defined, high-priority, and high-opportunity areas of science relevant to the NIAID mission. Until recently, NOFOs were called funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). We use requests for information (RFIs) to collect public feedback on priority topics and requests for proposals (RFPs) to solicit proposals for research and development contracts. (Go to the next question)

2. c. Fellowship (F) grants—For most award types, NIAID follows NIH’s three cycles of Standard Due Dates for investigator-initiated applications. These include applications for research project grants, career development awards, and fellowship grants. But there are exceptions: NIAID has two annual due dates for both AIDS-related and non-AIDS-related investigator-initiated program project and training grants that differ from NIH’s standard Standard Due Dates. (Go to the next question)

3. b. DP2—NIH considers you to be a new principal investigator (PI) if you have not yet received substantial independent NIH funding. Substantial awards are R01s and R01-equivalent grants, including the New Innovators Awards (DP2), that provide awardees with substantial funding for project periods of up to 5 years. Investigators can verify their new PI status in the eRA Commons personal profile. (Go to the next question)

4. b. Investigator-initiated, with direct costs of $500,000 or more in any 1 year—Applicants must ask NIAID to agree to accept assignment of any investigator-initiated research project or training grant application that requests $500,000 or more in direct costs for any 1 year (excluding subaward facilities and administrative costs). For applications solicited by a request for applications (RFA), the RFA will explicitly state if the application must include the letter of acceptance. Seek approval from the program officer at least 6 weeks before applying, as identified in the NOFO. (Go to the next question)

5. a. Time—Person months is the specific time metric for expressing the effort investigators, faculty, and other senior personnel devote to a specific project. Calculate person months by multiplying the percentage of a person’s professional time associated with the project by the number of months the work will take place. (Go to the next question)

6. b. Secondary research with biological specimens—Research involving individually identifiable human specimens or data qualifies as human subjects research but does not meet the NIH definition of a clinical trial (for which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes). (Go to the next question)

7. b. Scientific review officer—Only the scientific review officer (SRO) sees your cover letter, not the peer reviewers or program officer. The letter alerts the SRO to the presence of certain items in your application such as approvals to submit, genomic data, or select agents. (Go to the next question)

8. a. Be a foreign institution—While you need NIAID’s prior approval to add a foreign subrecipient to an ongoing grant, foreign institutions can be subrecipients if the NOFO allows foreign components. Subrecipients are prohibited from making second-degree subawards with NIH funding and they do not submit progress reports directly to NIAID. (Go to the next question)

9. c. Budget—Before assigning an overall impact score, reviewers consider five standard criteria: significance, investigators, innovation, approach, and environment. Reviewers don't use the budget to assess scientific merit, though a poorly prepared budget request could reflect negatively on the applicant’s understanding of the scope of the work. (Go to the next question)

10. b. One—In 2014, NIH changed its resubmission policy from two resubmission attempts to one. However, investigators may follow an unfunded resubmission (A1) with a new application (A0) without any requirement that the second A0 be significantly different from the A1, so long as it removes any references to previous submissions and reviews.

Contact Us

Email us at deaweb@niaid.nih.gov for help navigating NIAID’s grant and contract policies and procedures.

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