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Grants can be classified on the basis of type of activities supported (research, training, service, etc.), degree of discretion allowed the awarding office (mandatory or discretionary), and/or the method of determining amounts of award (negotiated basis or formula). More than one of these terms may be used to characterize any particular grant. This section discusses applications for discretionary grants. These grants include various types of activities and different methods for determining amounts of the award. However, they all use the same application process.

Applications for PHS discretionary grants are sought from all eligible entities. To ensure maximum competition, funding opportunities are publicized, and applications undergo an objective review process and vie for program funding with other applications (see section 4).


Eligible entities may apply for PHS funds at various stages of their projects. These applications are classified as a preapplications, new, competing continuation, noncompeting continuation, and supplemental. Descriptions of each type of application, the timing of such requests, and the nature of the PHS review process are discussed below. Policy and procedures affecting construction grants are described in appendix 2.

Application forms and information concerning deadlines for submission of applications can be obtained by contacting the Grants Management Officer (GMO) of the appropriate PHS awarding office (see appendix 1). Research grant application forms for some programs may be obtained from the applicant or grantee institution's application control office or from the Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-0714.


Preapplications serve one or more of the following purposes: To establish communication between the awarding office and the applicant; to determine the applicant's eligibility; to determine how well the project can compete with other similar applications; and to discourage applications that have little or no chance for Federal funding before organizations incur significant expenditures for preparing an application.

Some discretionary grant programs require the submission of preapplications. Such requirements will be contained in published guidance from the particular program involved. Governmental organizations may submit preapplications in the absence of a requirement for such a submission.

Preapplications are required where a request for support involves joint funding. Joint funding would include assistance from more than one Federal program, or one or more Federal programs and one or more State programs, provided each one of those components contributes materially to the accomplishment of a single purpose or closely related purpose.

New Applications

New applications are subject to an independent objective review process (see section 4, "Internal Review Process") and must compete for available funds in accordance with programmatic criteria and funding priorities. They may also be subject to certain external review requirements by State Single Points of Contact (SPOCs) under Executive Order 12372 (see section 4, "External Review Requirements").

Competing Continuation Applications

Applications for competing continuation of PHS support for one or more budget periods beyond the originally approved project period may be submitted unless such requests are prohibited by the program's legislation, regulations, or other published policy. Such an application is appropriate when the original project period was approved for a period of time shorter than grant support was needed or the results of the original activity warrant support beyond the period originally recommended. Such competing continuation applications must be submitted in accordance with established deadline dates and will be subject to objective review requirements and any external review requirements applicable to competitive applications (see section 4). If approved and funded, the extended period of support is treated as an extension of the original project period.

Noncompeting Continuation Applications

Noncompeting continuation applications must be submitted annually to request funds for subsequent budget periods after the first budget period when a discretionary multiyear project (excluding construction projects) is approved for a project period of more than 1 year. Application materials are routinely mailed to the grantee several months before the beginning date of the next budget period. If these materials are not received at the proper time, it is the responsibility of the grantee organization to request them. These applications are not subject to independent objective review procedures and do not compete with new or competing continuation applications for funds (see section 5 for an explanation of the requirements for the issuance of a continuation award). In the case of research grants to institutions with designated application control offices, a listing of continuing projects for which applications are due is supplied to that office by the Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of Health.

Supplemental Applications

For Expansion

Supplemental applications for expansion of a project's or program's scope or research protocol are treated as new applications for purposes of the review requirements and competition for funds described in this document.

For Administrative Increases

Supplemental applications to meet institutionwide increased costs, such as those associated with salary or fringe benefit increases, that take effect during a current budget period and were not included in the grant application for that period, are usually noncompeting but are subject to PHS awarding office approval and the availability of funds. The supplemental amount, if awarded, becomes part of the approved budget for the applicable budget period. However, when a PHS research project is located in an organizational component that receives an NIH Biomedical Research Support Grant, no supplemental funds will be provided for administrative increases that take effect during a current budget period. A request for funds to cover such increases may be included in the next application for continuation support.


A noncompeting extension may be requested to extend the final budget period of a project period, or any other budget period where justified, for up to 12 months beyond the budget period ending date shown on the Notice of Grant Award (NGA), unless otherwise restricted by a program's statute or governing regulations. An exception to this prior approval requirement is contained in section 8, "Special Provisions for Research Grants." Such an extension may be made without additional funds or with a minimal amount of further support and may be approved by administrative action of the GMO of the PHS awarding office and awarded without competition. The request for a noncompeting extension must be in writing, stating the reason for the extension and the additional time and funds, if any, being requested, and should be made before the expiration of the current budget period. A noncompeting extension of a budget period or project period may also be initiated by PHS. Notice of extension must be made through the issuance of a revised NGA.

Generally, noncompeting extensions should be granted only when continuity of PHS grant support is required while a competing continuation application is under review or to permit an orderly phaseout of a project that will not receive continued PHS support. Requests for noncompeting extensions of the final budget period of a previously approved project period should be made at least 60 days before the end of the project period. If a budget period is extended, any subsequent award will not be effective until the expiration of the extended budget period. A grant project may be extended after the expiration date of the final budget period of the project period only in exceptional cases when there is a good justification for doing so, such as when the internal processing within the PHS awarding office of a competing continuation application is delayed.

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