IC-Sponsored Program Announcements (PARs and PASs) SOP

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

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.


To stimulate grant-supported research in high-priority and high-opportunity areas of science.


Program announcements (PAs) are funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) that identify areas of increased priority and/or emphasis on particular funding mechanisms (e.g., R01) for a specific area of science. NIH has developed omnibus parent PAs for common grant mechanisms for applicants who wish to submit investigator-initiated applications. Notices of Special Interest (NOSIs) have replaced IC-issued PAs.

In addition to NOSIs and NIH-sponsored parent PAs, NIH institutes and centers (ICs) develop two special types of PAs:

  1. PAR—PA with special receipt, referral and/or review considerations 
  2. PAS—PA with set-aside funds

Note: A PA that includes both PAR and PAS characteristics defaults to a PAR.

PARs and PASs are two types of initiatives—together with requests for applications (RFA) and solicitations—NIAID develops with its Advisory Council.

PARs and PASs differ from RFAs as follows:

  • PARs may or may not have set-aside funds. If they do not, NIAID may fund some of the applications beyond the payline. RFAs always have set-aside funds.
  • PARs and PASs are usually broader; for example, a PAR or PAS may focus on biodefense research opportunities, whereas an RFA will focus on developing therapies for a particular disease.
  • Applications in response to PARs and PASs are often reviewed by the applicable Center for Scientific Review study section unless otherwise stated in the FOA. Applications responding to an RFA are usually reviewed by an IC-specific review panel in a special emphasis panel.

PARs and PASs may be sponsored by one or more ICs. They usually use standard NIH submission dates—see the NIH Standard Application Due Dates—but PARs may use special receipt dates if warranted. PARs and PASs remain active for three years unless NIAID inactivates them sooner; see the Program Announcement and NOSI Inactivation SOP for more on that topic.


  • Determine whether applying for a PAR or PAS is right for you. For our advice, read Types of Funding Opportunities.
  • For NIAID’s active PARs and PASs, go to our Funding Opportunities list.
  • You can also find PARs and PASs as follows:
    • In the NIH Guide (link is external) by selecting PAR and PAS under the Type of Funding Opportunity Announcement filter on the left rail, which retrieves active IC-sponsored program announcements.
    • In Grants.gov by selecting Search Grants and entering and selecting your search criteria.

Program Staff

Program Division Coordinator

  • After division approval, submit drafts to OID for review and approval.

Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations

  • Create a project phasing plan and receive internal approval of it from the Grants Management Program and Scientific Review Program (SRP) before sending to program divisions for approval. See Phasing of Initiatives SOP (link is external).
  • Provide guidance to program staff during all stages of FOA development.
  • Review drafts and send comments to program officers through either the program division coordinator or OID according to the project plan.
  • Enter the PAR or PAS into Shared Interest in FOAM to allow other ICs the opportunity to comment or sign on before the FOA is published (at least two weeks).
  • Ensure the PAR or PAS is formatted according to the most recent guidelines and templates.
  • Send the final PAR or PAS to NIH Guide staff for review, approval, and publication in FOAM.
  • Monitor phasing milestones and revise as necessary.

Office of Initiative Development

  • About four to eight weeks before the first draft of a PAR or PAS is due, coordinate and lead planning meeting to discuss scope, requirements, and other issues, if applicable.
    • The meeting includes the program officer, branch chief, program division coordinator, DEA staff, and possibly a representative from the NIAID Office of Technology Development and SRP, as appropriate.
  • Provide a draft of the FOA to the chief grants management officer for review and approval before publication in the NIH Guide.
  • Submit to OERPO for final approval and submission and publication to the Funding Opportunity Announcement Module (FOAM) (link is external).
  • Advise program staff during all stages of FOA development.


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

Program Division Coordinators

Use the contacts listed above for questions about your specific situation. If you have a general question or a suggestion to improve this page, email the Office of Knowledge and Educational Resources at deaweb@niaid.nih.gov.




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