NIH Grants Policy Statement
Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards
The Notice of Award (NoA) is the legal document issued to notify the grantee that an award has been made and that funds may be requested from the designated HHS payment system or office. The NoA is issued for the initial budget period and each subsequent budget period in the approved project period. The NoA reflects any future-year commitments. A revised NoA may be issued during a budget period to effect an action resulting in a change in the period or amount of support or other change in the terms and conditions of award. NIH will not issue a revised NoA to reflect a grantee's post-award rebudgeting. Until an IC has issued the NoA for the initial award, any costs incurred by the applicant for the project are incurred at its own risk (see Cost Considerations—Allowability of Costs/Activities—Selected Items of Cost—Pre-Award (Pre-Agreement) Costs for NIH policy on the allowability of pre-award costs).
The NoA sets forth pertinent information about the grant, including, but not limited to, the following:
A grantee indicates acceptance of an NIH award and its associated terms and conditions by drawing or requesting funds from the designated HHS payment system or office. If the grantee cannot accept the award, including the legal obligation to perform in accordance with its provisions, it should notify the GMO immediately upon receipt of the NoA. If resolution cannot be reached, the GMO will void the grant. NIH's determination of applicable terms and conditions of award or a GMO's denial of a request to change the terms and conditions is discretionary and not subject to appeal (post-award appeal rights are discussed in Administrative Requirements—Grant Appeals Procedures). Once the award is accepted by the grantee, the contents of the NoA are binding on the grantee unless and until modified by a revised NoA signed by the GMO.
NIH notifies the grantee organization via e-mail when an award has been issued. In order to allow for the e-mail notification of the NoA, grantee organizations must register a valid e-mail address in the NoA E-mail field in the eRA Commons Institutional Profile once the initial eRA Commons registration process is complete. Organizations are encouraged to use a unique e-mail address that is not specific to an individual in order to avoid communication problems when personnel change. It is the responsibility of the grantee organization to maintain a current and accurate e-mail address for NoAs. NIH will not distribute NoAs other than through this system-generated e-mail notification process. Grantees that do not maintain a current NoA notification e-mail address will be responsible for accessing NoAs via the eRA Common.
When NIH issues the NoA, the document is made available to grantee officials and corresponding PD/PIs in the eRA Commons through the Status module. The eRA Commons is the official repository for the NoA document.
In addition to e-mail notifications, there is a public query Issued Notice of (Grant) Award (http://era.nih.gov/commons/quick_queries/NIH_issued-NGAs.cfm) available on the eRA Web site to generate a list of awards issued to an organization over a selected period. The organization's Institution Profile File (IPF) Number is required in order to use the query.
For some special initiatives a project or program may be funded by multiple awards that are associated with the others through special terms and conditions. These terms include any reporting requirements that would need to be coordinated in future years. When multiple awards are issued for a particular project/program at different institutions, the coordination required among the grantee institutions administering the awards will be documented in the special terms and conditions.
For most grants, NIH uses the project period system of funding. Under this system, projects are programmatically approved for support in their entirety but are funded in annual increments called budget periods. The length of an initial project period (competitive segment) or of any subsequent competitive segment is determined by the NIH awarding IC on the basis of:
The total project period consists of the initial competitive segment, any additional competitive segments authorized by approval of a competing continuation application, and any non-competing extensions. NIH policy limits each competitive segment to a maximum of 5 years (exclusive of non-competing extensions). A single award covering the entire period of support generally is used only if the project is solely for construction or modernization of real property, if the total planned period of support will be less than 18 months, or if the project is awarded under a special support mechanism.
The initial NoA provides funds for the project during the first budget period. Budget periods usually are 12 months long; however, shorter or longer budget periods may be established for compelling programmatic or administrative reasons. The NoA that documents approval of a project period that extends beyond the budget period for which funds are provided (including anticipated levels of future support) expresses NIH's intention to provide continued financial support for the project. The amounts shown for subsequent years represent projections of future funding levels based on the information available at the time of the initial award. Such projected levels of future support are contingent on satisfactory progress, the availability of funds, and the continued best interests of the Federal government. They are not guarantees by NIH that the project will be funded or will be funded at those levels and create no legal obligation to provide funding beyond the ending date of the current budget period as shown in the NoA.
Grantees are required to submit an annual progress report as a prerequisite to NIH approval and funding of each subsequent budget period (non-competing continuation award) within an approved project period (see Administrative Requirements—Monitoring—Reporting—Non-Competing Continuation Progress Report). A decision to fund the next budget period will be formalized by the issuance of the NoA indicating the new budget period and the amount of new funding. The NoA also will reflect any remaining future-year commitments. NIH may decide to withhold support for one or more of the reasons cited in Administrative Requirements—Enforcement Actions—Suspension, Termination, and Withholding of Support. A grantee may appeal this decision only if the withholding was for the grantee's failure to comply with the terms and conditions of a previous award (see Administrative Requirements—Grant Appeals Procedures).
All Federal agencies are required by 31 U.S.C. §1555(a) to close fixed year appropriation accounts and cancel any remaining balances by September 30 of the fifth fiscal year after the year of availability. In order for the NIH to meet its obligation to close these accounts and cancel any remaining balances by September 30, grantees must report disbursements on the quarterly cash transaction report (using the FFR) no later than June 30 of the fifth fiscal year after the year of availability. This provision may limit the availability of funds for carryover. It may also limit or eliminate the authority to extend the final budget period when an entire project period is funded by a single award.
Each NoA sets forth the amount of funds awarded. The amount may be shown either as a categorical (line item) budget or as an amount for total direct costs (not broken down by category) and an amount for F&A costs, if applicable. Modular awards represent a type of award made without a categorical budget (see Modular Applications and Awards chapter in IIB). The grantee has certain rebudgeting flexibility within the overall amount awarded (see Administrative Requirements—Changes in Project and Budget). The grantee may be required to provide matching funds under construction awards as specified in Construction Grants—Matching in IIB as well as under other NIH programs or awards if specified in the funding opportunity announcement.
In addition to, or in lieu of, the standard terms and conditions of award specified in the NIHGPS, NIH may use terms and conditions for program-specific or award-specific reasons. For example, if, on the basis of a grantee's application or other available information, the GMO finds – at the time of award or at any time subsequent to award – that the grantee's management systems and practices are not adequate to ensure the appropriate stewardship of NIH funds or to achieve the objectives of the award, the GMO may impose special, more restrictive terms and conditions on the award in accordance with 42 CFR 52.9 and 45 CFR part 74.14 or 92.12. For example, NIH could require a grantee to obtain prior approval for expenditures that ordinarily do not require such approval or to provide more frequent reports. In addition to closer monitoring, NIH may assist the grantee in taking any necessary corrective action.