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Did you know that NIH is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world, investing more than $32 billion a year to enhance life, and reduce illness and disability? NIH funded research has led to breakthroughs and new treatments, helping people live longer, healthier lives, and building the research foundation that drives discovery. Read on for an orientation to NIH funding, grant programs, how the grants process works, and how to apply.
Before getting started, learn how NIH is structured (and why that’s important), our approach to grant funding, the types of organizations and people eligible to apply, what we look for in a research project, and the types of grant programs we offer.
Learn the steps needed for an application to proceed from planning and submission to award and close out. Drill down on each step for guidance that can deepen your understanding of the grants process and help you submit a grant application and manage your grant award.
Plan ahead and prepare to get an edge in this highly competitive process. Figure out the early issues, such as picking the right grant type, determining if you need prior approval from NIH to apply, planning within your organization, considering implications if you are a new investigator or are from a foreign institution, and more.
How to Apply serves as our comprehensive application guide, providing step-by-step instructions to get you through the grant application process, from completing required registrations, finding a funding opportunity to accessing the application forms and instructions, formatting your application, finding due dates and submission policies, and more.
Learn how NIH staff check incoming grant applications for completeness, assign the applications to an NIH Institute or Center for potential funding consideration and to a scientific review group for evaluating scientific and technical merit.
Peer review is the cornerstone of the NIH grants process, helping ensure that NIH grant applications are evaluated in a way that is fair, equitable, timely, and free of bias. NIH has a two-stage review, with the first level of review carried out by a Scientific Review Group composed primarily of non-federal scientists. The second level of review is performed by the Institute and Center National Advisory Councils or Boards composed of both scientific and public representatives. Learn details of NIH’s peer review process, held up as a model around the world.
Communication is key between applicants and NIH staff during the pre-award process. Learn about information we may ask you to submit just-in-time for possible funding, what NIH staff will be reviewing in your application prior to award (level of effort, indirect costs, etc.), and how we work with the applicant to negotiate the details of the final award.
After the award comes the research — and also the reporting. NIH and grantees both need to ensure federal funds are responsibly used. Hence, grantees must communicate with NIH regularly, submitting required reports on scientific progress of the grant, financial expenditures, invention reports, and more. NIH staff evaluate these reports and may even make site visits to ensure projects are on track and being managed appropriately. Read on for a high level overview of these post-award monitoring and reporting activities.
Essential NIH forms, instructions and format pages you need to apply for, manage, and close out grant awards.