Small and Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants SOP

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

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.

Purpose

To support small-scale research projects and encourage exploratory and developmental research.

Procedure

Small (R03) and exploratory/developmental research (R21) grants are designed for investigators who have small defined projects where preliminary data are not required.

R03s provide investigators with up to $50,000 a year in direct costs for up to two years and do not have any cost-sharing requirements. Below are examples of projects suitable to a small grant:

  • Pilot or feasibility studies
  • Secondary analysis of existing data
  • Small, self-contained research projects
  • Development of research methodology
  • Development of new research technology

R21s provide investigators with up to $275,000 in direct costs for a two-year period, with no more than $200,000 in a single year, unless otherwise specified in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Unlike R03s, R21s are designed to introduce novel scientific ideas, model systems, tools, agents, targets, and technologies that have the potential to substantially advance biomedical research.

NIH does not allow principal investigators to renew R03s or R21s.

Investigators who are not highly knowledgeable about NIH activity codes should contact a program officer for help before choosing a small grant. Go to Contacting Program Officers and Grants Management Specialist.

If resubmissions are allowed, applicants may revise and resubmit their applications one time as a resubmission (A1) application. For A1s that do not succeed, applicants may submit the same idea as a new (A0) application for the next appropriate due date. For more information, see Options if Your Application Isn't Funded in Apply for a Grant.

Find active R03 and R21 FOAs on NIAID’s Funding Opportunities list. 

Applicants

  • Decide whether to apply for an R03 or R21.
  • Prepare your application according to the instructions in the relevant FOA linked on NIAID’s Opportunities and Announcements page.
  • Submit your application by the due date in the FOA.

Contacts

DAIDS: Madelon Halula

DAIT: Stacy Ferguson

DEA: NIAIDOPCO@niaid.nih.gov

DMID: Samuel Perdue

For funding opportunity announcements, contact the program officer listed in announcements.

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.

Links

Apply for a Grant

NIAID Funding Policy and Process SOP

IC-Sponsored Program Announcements (PARs and PASs) SOP

Requests for Applications (RFA) SOP

Comparing Popular Research Project Grants: R01, R03, and R21

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