NIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Program (R15)

   Goals of the Program
  • Support meritorious research
  • Expose students to research
  • Strengthen the research environment of the institution
   Key Features
  • Project period is limited to 3 years.
  • Direct costs are limited to $300,000 over the entire project period.
  • Grants are renewable.
  • Preliminary data are not required.
Related Resources

Program Announcement


Receipt Dates

Standard application deadlines
February 25, June 25, and October 25

AIDS-related research deadlines
May 7, September 7, and January 7


There are two levels of eligibility for AREA grants: the eligibility of the institution and the eligibility of the principal investigator (PI).

   Institutional Eligibility

  • Only domestic accredited public or non-profit private institutions of higher education are eligible.
  • The institution must grant baccalaureate or advanced degrees in the biomedical or behavioral sciences.
  • The institution may not receive more than $6 million per year in NIH support in each of 4 of the last 7 years. Please view the AREA Program Institutional Eligibility website for more information.

   Principal Investigator Eligibility

  • The PI must have a primary appointment at an AREA-eligible institution.
  • The PI may not be the PI of an active NIH research grant at the time of an AREA award.
  • The PI may not be awarded more than one AREA grant at a time.
Developing Your AREA Application

In addition to the steps you would take to prepare any NIH research grant application, you should consider the following tips when developing and preparing your AREA grant application.

  • Find the NIH institute or center (IC) that supports your area of research via the NIH AREA Grant Research Objectives website.
  • Contact the AREA representative from relevant ICs to inquire about their interest in supporting your research project, as well as the IC's funding plans for the AREA program for the fiscal year in which you will be applying.
  • Be aware of the unique application submission requirements and review criteria for AREA grants that allow reviewers to assess how each application addresses the goals of the AREA program.
  • Remember that this is a research award, not a training or fellowship award. The application should include plans to expose students to hands-on research but it should not include didactic or training plans.
  • Request your entire budget in the first year of the award. Because AREA grants are multi-year funded (MYF) awards, the entire budget, for all years of the award, must be requested in the first budget year. If the direct costs for all years of the award are $250,000 or less, you should complete the PHS398 Modular Budget form. If the direct costs for all years of the award are over $250,000, you should complete the Research and Related Budget form. For more information, please see the "R&R or Modular Budget Component" section of the AREA program announcement.

For scientific and funding-related questions, contact the relevant NIH IC AREA Contact.
For general AREA program and policy-related questions, email
For questions regarding application instructions, contact GrantsInfo.
For questions regarding eRA Commons registration, tracking application status, and post-submission issues, contact eRA Commons.
To volunteer to serve as a reviewer at CSR, send your biosketch to with “R15” in the email subject.

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