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Other Transactions

Learn about Other Transactions and NIH’s Other Transactions Authorities (OTAs). 

On This Page:

What is an Other Transactions Authority?

An Other Transactions Authority (OTA) allows for Federal Government agencies to enter into Other Transactions (OTs).

What is an Other Transaction?

An Other Transaction (OT) is a unique type of legal instrument other than a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement. Generally, this awarding instrument is not subject to the FAR, nor grant regulations unless otherwise noted for certain provisions in the terms and conditions of award. It is, however, subject to the OT authority that governs the initiative as well as applicable legislative mandates.

What are NIH’s Other Transactions Authorities?

Identified below are statutes that provide authority for one or more components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use Other Transactions. These authorities are subject to change and are also subject to the availability of funds. Other Transactions agreements carry out a specific function, initiative, program, project, or research under an Other Transactions Authority.

Statute: Public Health Service Act (PHSA) sec. 402(n), 42 U.S.C. sec. 282(n)
Director of National Institutes of Health

Unique research initiatives.
In General.—The Director of NIH may approve, after consideration of a proposal under paragraph (2)(A), requests by the national research institutes and centers, or program officers within the Office of the Director to engage in transactions other than a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement with respect to projects that carry out — the Precision Medicine Initiative under section 289g–5 of this title; section 402(b)(7), except that not more than 50 percent of the funds available for a fiscal year through the Common Fund under section 402A(c)(1) for purposes of carrying out section 402(b)(7) may be used to engage in such other transactions; or high impact cutting-edge research that fosters scientific creativity and increases fundamental biological understanding leading to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of diseases and disorders, or research urgently required to respond to a public health threat.

Requirements.—The authority provided under this subsection may be used to conduct or support high impact cutting-edge research described in paragraph (1) using the other transactions authority described in such paragraph if the institute, center, or office —submits a proposal to the Director of NIH for the use of such authority before conducting or supporting the research, including why the use of such authority is essential to promoting the success of the project; receives approval for the use of such authority from the Director of NIH; and for each year in which the institute, center, or office has used such authority in accordance with this subsection, submits a report to the Director of NIH on the activities of the institute, center, or office relating to such research.

Statute: PHSA sec. 421(b)(3) 42 U.S.C. sec. 285b–3(b)(3)
National Heart, Blood Vessel, Lung, and Blood Diseases and Blood Resources Program

(b) In carrying out the Program, the Director of the [NHLBI], under policies established by the Director of NIH - subject to section 405(b)(2) and without regard to section 3324 of title 31, United States Code, and section 3709 of the Revised Statutes (41 U.S.C. 5), may enter into such contracts, leases, cooperative agreements, or other transactions, as may be necessary in the conduct of the [National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)] Director’s functions, with any public agency, or with any person, firm, association, corporation, or educational institutions.

Statute: PHSA sec. 480(e)(3)(C), 42 U.S.C. sec. 287a(e)(3)(C)
Cures Acceleration Network

(3) Awards
(C) The Cures Acceleration Flexible Research Awards.—If the Director of [National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)] determines that the goals and objectives of this section cannot adequately be carried out through a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement, the Director of the Center shall have flexible research authority to use other transactions to fund projects in accordance with the terms and conditions of this section. Awards made under such flexible research authority for a fiscal year shall not exceed 20 percent of the total funds appropriated under subsection (g)(1) for such fiscal year.

Why are Other Transactions used instead of traditional funding mechanisms?

Reasons to use an OT may include a combination of the following, among others:

  • An Other Transactions Authority (statute’s citation);
  • Need for flexibility to negotiate terms and conditions appropriate for the specific program requiring fluid implementation;
  • Nontraditional review and award management practices are needed because the science is expected to be highly evolving, with requirements for additional aims or expertise added to, or removed from, the project throughout the term of execution;
  • Collaborative involvement by the NIH in the technical direction and oversight of the research, which can be akin to partnering (e.g., participation in progress reviews and decisions on future efforts or direction; government may be a voting or nonvoting member of the consortium);
  • Negotiate intellectual property rights; and/or
  • Participation sought by nontraditional research recipients, such as:
    • Patient advocacy organizations, pharmaceutical companies, foreign entities, or other organizations that are typically not inclined to work with the Federal Government;
    • Consortia comprised of various entities that collaborate as peers with the NIH to manage the project and share its costs;
    • Nonprofit entities that have an interest in the goals of the program; or
    • Individuals.

Where are NIH’s OT Research Opportunity Announcements located?

Research Opportunity Announcements may be found on NIH institutes, centers, or initiatives’ websites; the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts;; and other locations known to industry for the specific research initiative. Additionally, NIH may reach potential applicants via other means, including but not limited to white papers, oral presentations, panel pitches, and targeted solicitations.

How to submit an NIH Other Transaction application?

Announcements for OTs will provide specific instructions for each opportunity. Applications for Other Transactions are required to be submitted through eRA ASSIST. In addition to any additional specific instructions provided in the ROA, applicants are to follow the instructions here:

How are NIH Other Transactions applications evaluated?   

All applications for Other Transactions are required to go through a scientific evaluation or an objective review. Contents of the evaluation or review are outlined in each Research  Opportunity Announcement. Through a process that involves the thorough and consistent examination of applications based on an unbiased evaluation of scientific or technical merit or other relevant aspects of the proposal, each review is performed by persons expert in the field of endeavor for which support is requested and is intended to provide advice to the individuals responsible for making award decisions.

Who to contact for NIH Other Transactions?

Each Research Opportunity Announcement provides the names and contact information for those leading each initiative. General inquiries about NIH Other Transactions can be sent to