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 notices of funding opportunities (NOFOs) 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 institute and center (IC)-issued PAs.

In addition to NOSIs and NIH-sponsored parent PAs, NIH ICs develop two special types of IC-sponsored 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 (RFAs) 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 NOFO. 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—refer to the NIH Standard Application Due Dates—but PARs may use special receipt dates if warranted. PARs and PASs remain active for 3 years unless NIAID inactivates them sooner; refer to 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 by selecting PAR and PAS under the Type of Funding Opportunities 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

  • Follow your divisional procedures to develop the concept for a PAR or PAS. You may want to consult with your program division coordinator.
  • Once your division, the NIAID Director, and Council approve a concept, work with your program division coordinator to create a project plan that schedules all steps needed to proceed from concept to award. Refer to the Phasing of Initiatives SOP.
  • Work with the Office of Initiative Development (OID) to prepare drafts of the PAR or PAS and forward to your program division coordinator for internal division review.
  • After applications arrive, view them in IMPAC.
  • If an application does not fit within the scope of NIAID's research mandate, determine if another IC will accept assignment of the application. Work with NIAID Receipt and Referral. Refer to NIAID Request for Assignment Changes from CSR SOP.
  • If an application is nonresponsive, create a Request for DRR Analysis (RDA) to notify the Division of Receipt and Referral (DRR) of issues that need further investigation, as described in the Withdrawal of a Nonresponsive Application SOP.

Program Division Coordinator

  • After division approval, submit drafts to OID for review and approval.
  • After developing a concept for a PAR or PAS, enter it into the Research Initiative Management System (RIMS).
  • Work with the Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) Office of Extramural Research and Operations (OERPO) on phasing.

Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations

  • Create a project phasing plan. Refer to the Phasing of Initiatives SOP.
  • Provide guidance to program staff during all stages of NOFO 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 the Funding Opportunity Announcement Module (FOAM) to allow other ICs the opportunity to comment or sign on before the NOFO is published. NOFOs must be in Shared Interest for a minimum of 2 weeks before submitting to the Office of Extramural Research for policy review.
  • Start the chief grants management officer (CGMO) review and approval process in FOAM.
  • Ensure the PAR or PAS is formatted according to the most recent guidelines and templates.
  • Use FOAM to send the final PAR or PAS to NIH Guide staff for review, approval, and publication.
  • Monitor phasing milestones and revise as necessary.

Office of Initiative Development

  • About 4 to 8 weeks before the first draft of a PAR or PAS is due, coordinate and lead a planning meeting to discuss scope, requirements, and other issues as applicable.
    • Include the program officer, branch chief, program division coordinator, DEA staff, and possibly representatives from other NIAID Offices, as appropriate.
  • Provide a draft of the NOFO to the CGMO for review and approval before publication in the NIH Guide.
  • Submit the draft NOFO to OERPO for final approval and submission to the NIH Guide.
  • Advise program staff during all stages of NOFO development.

Chief Grants Management Officer

  • Review NOFO draft provided by OID.
  • Indicate NOFO approval in FOAM.


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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