Types of Funding Opportunities
Choosing a grant type can have major repercussions on your research and career. Learn about funding opportunity announcements and choosing the right type of funding opportunity.
What Is a FOA?
For any application you submit to NIH, you will apply through a funding opportunity announcement (FOA). All federal grant funding agencies use FOAs to announce their funding opportunities.
The Guide announcement includes opportunity-specific instructions that are important to read, as well as a link to the relevant SF 424 Application Guide. You'll also find buttons so your business official can apply electronically, but be sure to check with your business office about which application method to use and your internal deadlines.
Investigator-Initiated or Solicited Research
NIH FOAs come in two basic flavors which correspond to how much freedom you’ll have on your project’s topic.
- You can create a project in any scientific area you choose and submit an application for what is called Unsolicited, Investigator-Initiated Research.
- You can respond to an NIAID initiative that solicits research in a predefined high-priority area. In this case — called Solicited, NIAID-Requested Research — you choose the project but not the research area.
Clinical Trial or Not
Check Does your human subjects research study meet the NIH Definition of a clinical trial? to know whether clinical trial rules and regulations will apply to your study.
You must select a FOA that accepts the type of research you wish to propose. All NIH FOAs list whether they allow, require, or disallow clinical trials in the FOA’s title and in Section II. Award Information.
Choose an Activity Code
NIH supports hundreds of types of grants—known here as activity codes. The basic and most popular research project grant is the R01.
We do not recommend that you choose an activity code on your own unless you are extremely knowledgeable about the subject. We advise most investigators to get help with this choice as follows:
- Consult with staff in your business office to find out which grant types your institution allows you to apply for. Also confirm your qualifications from NIH’s perspective using Determine Eligibility for NIAID Grants.
- Talk to other experienced researchers and mentors in your institution for guidance.
- Contact a program officer at NIH for further advice on choosing an appropriate grant type and funding opportunity announcement. Find NIAID program officer contacts at When to Contact a NIAID Program Officer.
In all these discussions, ask about the money and time constraints of different activity codes and how these factors may affect your ability to conduct a sound research project that can produce timely results. These factors can affect your chance of success in ways you may not anticipate, particularly if you are a new investigator.
Use the information we give below to help further inform those discussions.
If you are an experienced investigator and highly knowledgeable about NIH activity codes, you can choose one from NIAID’s descriptions below, from NIH's Types of Grant Programs search, or see the full list at Activity Codes Search Results.
Further Reading by Grant Type
Here we present further information and advice on different major grant types at NIAID.
The R-series includes the most common research grant programs such as NIH's main independent research project grants (R01), small grants (R03), academic research enhancement awards (AREA, R15), exploratory and developmental research projects (R21), clinical trial planning grants (R34), high priority short-term projects (R56), and more. Read more at Research Projects (R).
NIAID uses these programs to develop and support the next generation of biomedical researchers—people just entering graduate school, finishing their doctorates, or coming in from other fields. These awards enable promising scientists to gain education and experience. We also support research supplements and participate in two of NIH’s Loan Repayment Programs. See Training and Career Development Programs.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs seek to stimulate technological innovation and increase private-sector commercialization of technologies developed through federal R&D funding and other support initiatives. See Small Business Programs.
Funding added to an existing grant or cooperative agreement. NIAID supports three types of supplements: administrative, research, and revision (competing). See the following pages:
- Administrative supplements add money to a grant without peer review to pay for unforeseen items within the scope of an award. See the Administrative Supplements to Grants and Cooperative Agreements SOP.
- Research Supplements (diversity, primary caregiver, and reentry to a scientific career) add funds to an existing grant to support graduate students, postdocs, and others.
- Revisions (competing supplements) add money to a grant for a significant expansion of an existing project's scope or to meet the needs of a research protocol.
Single grant that funds at least two related research projects collaborating for a common goal. Multiproject applications may be investigator-initiated or may respond to a solicited funding opportunity announcement. See Multiproject Research (P, U) Applications.
NIAID funds cooperative agreements when its program staff are substantially involved. See the Conversion of Grants to Cooperative Agreements SOP.
Support for Scientific Conferences and Meetings (R13, U13)
- Conference Awards (R13, U13) SOP. If you are seeking NIAID support for a scientific meeting, you must follow the process described in our SOP.
- NIH’s Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings
- Use the R13/U13 Parent Program Announcement to apply.
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.