Foreign Grants Information
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Information for Foreign Applicants and Grantees

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), part of the United States Department of Health & Human Services, is the primary U.S. Federal agency that conducts and supports medical research. To realize its mission of extending healthy life and reducing the burdens of illness and disability, NIH funds grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts that support the advancement of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems.

The 27 Institutes and Centers (ICs) of NIH provide leadership and financial support to researchers both inside and outside the United States. Approximately 80% of NIH funding goes to support research grants, including grants to foreign organizations. Many of the ICs have international programs/collaborations that can be linked to from their homepages.

This page provides information specifically for foreign applicants and grantees. Applications for research grant support from foreign organizations are treated as if they were applications from domestic organizations. There are a few exceptions which are highlighted on this page. This page also provides links to important information for foreign applicants as they consider and prepare applications and administer grant awards.

Important Resources
  • NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/12) (NIH GPS) is the policy source for terms and conditions NIH awards made to domestic and foreign organizations. It is also designed to be useful to those interested in NIH grants by providing information about NIH—its organization, its staff, and its grants process. The NIH GPS should be used extensively when applying for NIH grants and cooperative agreements and in management of NIH awards. There are links to the NIH GPS through out this document.

  • The NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts is published daily and contains information on current grant policies, guidelines and funding opportunities. 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 by reviewing the FOA, specifically Section III Eligibility information, which lists institutions/organizations that are eligible to apply and any special eligibility criteria.

  • The forms that are required when applying for NIH awards can be found at NIH Forms and Applications. The instructions should be read carefully.

  • There are many public policy requirements that are applicable to applications from foreign organizations. When an application is submitted to NIH the Authorized Organization Representative assures NIH that it will follow the applicable public policy requirements, including those for human subjects and animal welfare. These can be found at NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/12) – Chapter 4: Public Policy Requirements, Objectives and Other Appropriation Mandates

Location and Time Zone of the NIH

The NIH main campus is located in Bethesda, Maryland on the East Coast of the U.S., just 10 miles from the center of Washington, D.C. From early November until March, this is GMT – 5 hours, and from March until November this is GMT – 4 hours. Note: Daylight Time begins in the United States on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

To confirm what time it is at our offices, visit www.time.gov , and click on Maryland (or any state on the East Coast).

NIH encourages email communication when possible.

Submitting an Application

All applications to NIH must be submitted in response to Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) which describe an ICs intent to award grants and/or cooperative agreements in certain programmatic areas. All NIH FOAs are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts and on Grants.gov - Find Grant Opportunities). Links to published FOAs may also be posted on individual IC home pages.

Section III.1.A of each FOA describes the type of institutions/organizations that are eligible to apply and Section III.1.B provides information on the type of individuals that are eligible to apply. In addition, Chapter 16 of the NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/12) describes general eligibility requirements for foreign organizations.

FOAs provide contact information for the IC’s scientific/research contact(s) (usually a program officer) who can answer questions about the scientific and/or technical aspects of the announcement; financial/grants management contact(s) who can answer questions about the administrative and budget aspects of the announcement; and peer review contact(s) who can answer questions about the peer review aspects of the announcement. Applicants are encouraged to contact these individuals to discuss their applications.

See Planning Your Application - Grants Process Overview for more information

Application Requirements

Electronic submission of grant applications is required for most NIH application types. Applicants from foreign institutions and international organizations must fulfill some additional requirements to register for electronic submission of grant applications. Registration can be a lengthy process and foreign organizations are especially encouraged to register early. Electronic submission of grant applications is required for most NIH application types.

Application forms and instructions are identical to those required for domestic applicants. Foreign organizations should be aware that budget requests must be prepared in U.S. dollar amounts and must be submitted in detail. Foreign organizations are not eligible to submit modular applications. Limited Facilities and Administrative costs (8% of total direct costs, less equipment) are provided to support the costs of compliance with NIH requirements. Other information on allowable and unallowable costs can be found in section 16.6 of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Peer Review

The peer review of applications from foreign institutions is the same as that for applications from U.S. institutions and is described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/12) Chapter 2.4: The Peer Review Process. In addition, the following are assessed as part of the review process and award decisions for applications from foreign institutions:

  • Whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions in other countries that are not readily available in the United States or that augment existing U.S. resources.

  • Whether the proposed project has specific relevance to the mission and objectives of the IC and has the potential for significantly advancing the health sciences in the United States

Extensive information on all stages of the NIH grant process including peer review can be found at Grants Process Overview.

Post Award Issues for Foreign Grantees

When NIH awards a grant or cooperative agreement, it is formalizing its partnership with the grantee to ensure compliance with federal laws, regulations and policies. This protects the integrity of the overall scientific endeavor. Acceptance of a grant award from NIH carries with it the responsibility to be aware of and comply with the terms and conditions of the Notice of Award (NoA). By drawing funds from the payment system, the grantee agrees to the terms and conditions of an award.

The NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/12) is a term of award and provides valuable information about the pre and post award requirements for NIH grants and cooperative agreements, as well as the general Overview of Terms and Conditions. NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/12) Chapter 16: Grants to Foreign Institutions, International Organizations, and Domestic Grants with Foreign Components provides information specific for awards to foreign organizations.

Payment

The method of payment for foreign awards changed on October 1, 2012 and is therefore highlighted here.

For all new and continuing awards to foreign institutions issued after October 1, 2012 (FY 2013 funding and beyond), payment is made through the Payment Management System (PMS).  PMS is a centralized grants payment and cash management system, operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Division of Payment Management (DPM). The PMS will establish sub-accounts using the (B) Account for each NIH foreign grant award made on or after October 1, 2012. Foreign grantees must register in PMS.

For foreign awards issued prior to FY 2013 payment is made by the NIH Office of Financial Management (OFM) on a predetermined quarterly advance basis. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/12) Chapter 6: Payment for further information. Additional resources for the transition include Changes to Continuing Foreign Awards in FY13 (PDF - 69 KB) and Carryover of Funds on Foreign Awards for FY13 (PDF - 97 KB).

When a foreign component participates in a consortium arrangement, the funding and payment information should be reflected in the formal written agreement. More information on consortium arrangements can be found at NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/12) Chapter 15: Consortium Agreements

Additional Resources
Guide Notices
Foreign Grants Information Archive

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This page last updated on February 12, 2013
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