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Types of Funding Opportunities

Choosing a grant type can have major repercussions on your research and career. Learn about notices of funding opportunities and choosing the right type of funding opportunity.

What Is a NOFO?

For any application you submit to NIH, you will apply through a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO). All federal grant funding agencies use NOFOs. Check our list of NIAID Funding Opportunities.

Subscribe for opportunity alerts at NIAID Email Updates. Open the Research Funding category, then open NIAID Funding Opportunities for more choices.

Each 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 links so your institution’s business official can apply electronically. Be sure to check with your business office about which application method to use and your internal deadlines.

Investigator-Initiated or Solicited Research

NIH funding opportunities come in two basic flavors which correspond to how much freedom you’ll have on your project’s topic.

Clinical Trial or Not

If you plan Research Using Human Subjects, you must also check if it fits NIH’s definition of a clinical trial as described on NIAID’s Clinical Trial Research page.

You must select a NOFO that accepts the type of research you wish to propose. All NIH NOFOs list whether they allow, require, or disallow clinical trials in the NOFO’s title and in Section II. Award Information.

International Research

If you plan to apply from a foreign institution, international organization, or domestic institution with foreign components, learn about your eligibility and special requirements for International Applications. You must select a funding opportunity that allows foreign applicants or components.

If your international application succeeds and NIAID funds your grant, refer to the Foreign Grants Management section. It offers instructions, a template for award administrators, training workshops, site visit information, and more.

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 institution's 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 notice of funding opportunity. 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.

Research Projects (R)

The R-series includes the most common research grant programs such as NIH's main independent research project grants (R01), small grants (R03), research enhancement awards (REA, 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).

Training and Career Development Programs

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 four of NIH’s Loan Repayment Programs. See Training and Career Development Programs.  

Small Business Programs (SBIR, STTR)

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 NIAID 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.

Multiproject (P, U)

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 notice of funding opportunity. See Multiproject Research (P, U) Applications.

Cooperative Agreements (U)

NIAID frequently uses cooperative agreements for high-priority research areas that require substantial involvement from NIH program or scientific staff. Learn more about Cooperative Agreements (U).

Support for Scientific Conferences and Meetings (R13, U13)

If you are wondering about a grant activity code not mentioned above, see NIH's Types of Grant Programs search or the full list at Activity Codes Search Results.

Have Questions?

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 an NIAID Program Officer.

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