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ARCHIVED - Foreign Grants - Determining Eligibility

How to determine if you are eligible for an NIH grant:

Each type of NIH grant program has its own set of eligibility requirements. NIH issues hundreds of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) in the form of Program Announcements (PAs) and Requests for Applications (RFAs) to stimulate research in particular areas of science. 

Applicants can determine their eligibility through a three-step process:

  1. Applicants are encouraged to search for funding opportunities in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. You may search by research keywords, or use the Advanced Search feature.

    NIH has developed Parent Announcements for use by applicants who wish to submit investigator-initiated or ‘unsolicited’ applications. Parent announcements are NIH-wide, but some NIH Institutes/Centers (ICs) may limit their participation, so check the announcement's statement of interest. 

  2. Once you have selected a FOA, scroll to the Eligibility Information section of the FOA.

    Section III.1.A will list type of institutions/organizations that are eligible to apply. Look for the phrase “Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entity (Foreign Organization)” to indicate that applications from foreign institutions are acceptable for that specific FOA. Note: In some cases, foreign institutions may not be eligible to submit applications in response to a particular FOA; however, consortium arrangements between foreign organizations and domestic grantee institutions may be permitted.

    Section III.1.B provides information on the type of individuals that are eligible to apply. In this section, some FOAs will specifically state that investigators must be U.S. citizens or non-citizen nationals. 

    There may be other special eligibility criteria, so be sure to read the entire Eligibility section of the FOA. Some examples of special eligibility criteria include:

    • “The low or middle income country (LMIC) collaborator/PD/PI must be from an institution located in a LMIC country defined by the World Bank, according to Gross National Income (GNI) per capita as low-income, lower-middle-income, and upper-middle-income.” See FIC’s FIRCA program (PAR-08-222)
    • “Organizational components (e.g., branches, posts) of institutions headquartered in the U.S. or other upper income economies are not eligible.” See NIAID’s IRIDA program (PAR-08-130)
    • “Applications can only be submitted by institutions/organizations in the U.S. or India.” See NIAID’s Indo-U.S. Vaccine Action Program (PA-10-115).
    • “Foreign, private or public institutions in India and sub-Saharan Africa that are currently receiving research grant support from NIH, either through a direct grant or as a subproject to a U.S. domestic award are eligible” See IEARDA Program (PAR-10-172).
  3. If you have additional questions about whether either your institution or you are eligible for NIH funding, you may contact an NIH agency official named in Section VII of the FOA.

Is U.S. citizenship required?
Generally, Principal Investigators and other personnel supported by NIH research grants are not required to be U.S. citizens. However, some NIH programs have a citizenship requirement. Any citizenship requirement will be stated in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). In these cases, individuals are required to have the appropriate citizenship status when the award is made rather than when the application is submitted. For example, under Career Development (“K”) awards (except K99) or Kirschstein-NRSA Individual Fellowships, the individual to be trained must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the U.S. or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of award. NIH requires the applicant to determine that individuals’ visas will allow them to remain in this country long enough for them to be productive on the research project, but NIH does not provide guidance on or assess the different types of visas. NIH expects grantee organizations to have policies, consistently applied regardless of the source of funds, to address this area. If a grant is awarded and an individual’s visa will not allow a long enough stay to be productive on the project, NIH may terminate the grant.

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