Academic Research Enhancement Awards SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: PurposeProcedureContacts, and Links.

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.


To enable qualified scientists at institutions eligible for Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) to receive support for small-scale research projects that expose undergrads and graduate students to NIH-funded research.


Non-research-intensive colleges and health professional schools are eligible for AREA if they have received less than $6 million a year in at least four of the last seven years. For more information on eligibility requirements and a list of ineligible institutions, see AREA Program Institutional Eligibility.

Qualified investigators must have a primary faculty appointment at an AREA-eligible institution and cannot be a principal investigator (PI) on an active NIH research grant at the time they would receive an AREA award. However, they may work on another PI's grant. PIs may receive only one AREA award at a time, though they may have successive AREA grants.

NIAID approves awards for up to three years and up to $300,000 in direct costs for the entire project period.

Institutions receive the entire award amount at the start of the project period and may take a no-cost extension of up to twelve months to allow PIs to finish AREA projects. See the No-Cost Extension SOP for details.

For initial peer review, applications are clustered in groups of about 15 and reviewed by standing study sections or special emphasis panels. For each cluster, those that score in the bottom half are not discussed. 

Grantees must send a progress report for each year. For details, see NIH Instructions for Progress Reports for Multiyear Funded (MYF) Awards. For more on progress reporting, go to Reporting Requirements During Your Grant.


Program Officers

  • Evaluate applications for scientific and programmatic merit.
  • Ensure that PIs submit annual progress reports. If you find a report to be unacceptable, ask the PI to submit a revised one.

Grants Management Specialists

  • Confirm that PIs and institutions are eligible for AREA awards.
  • If an institution has never received NIH funding, help it establish an employer identification number.
  • See the GMP Academic Research Enhancement Awards (R15) SOP for more information.


Applicants with questions should read Contacting Program Officers and Grants Management Specialists.

Office of Research Training and Special Programs

Grants Management Program

David Madoo

If you have knowledge to share or want more information on this topic, email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.


Content last reviewed on April 24, 2018