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NIH Support for Scientific Conferences (R13 and U13)

On This Page:

Receipt DatesStandard application deadlines 
April 12, August 12, and December 12

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


Permission to Submit an Application

The NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) each have different scientific missions, as well as program goals and initiatives that evolve over time. In order to promote the most efficient use of NIH funds towards meeting the mission and program goals of the ICs, each conference grant application is required to contain a permission-to-submit letter from one of the participating ICs (see IC Contact and Special Interests website).

  • Applicants are urged to initiate contact well in advance of the chosen application receipt date and no later than 6 weeks before that date. 
  • Applicants should inquire about IC-specific program priorities and policies in regard to conference grants.
  • Please note that agreement to accept an application does not guarantee funding.


  • Eligibility is limited to domestic institutions and organizations, including established scientific or professional societies.
  • Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply for conference support.
  • This program supports both domestic and international conferences; however, an international conference can be supported only through the U.S. representative organization of an established international scientific or professional society.
  • An individual is not eligible to receive a conference grant or cooperative agreement award.

Developing Your Conference Grant Application

In addition to the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, please be aware of the following special submission requirements for Conference Grant applications. Applicants should consult the funding opportunity announcement, in particular Section IV. Application and Submission Information, for detailed information about these special submission requirements.

  • Permission to Submit Letter
    • All applications must include in the Cover Letter attachment a “permission to submit” letter from a designated IC contact who has agreed to consider the application for funding.
  • Budget
    • Applications must include a detailed, categorical budget request using the Research & Related Budget form.
    • Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs (also referred to as indirect costs) are not allowed.
    • Applicants should consult with the IC about any IC-specific budget and project duration requirements.
  • Conference Plan 
    • This section takes the place of the Research Strategy section of a standard research application and should
      • Describe the objectives, specific program, and logistical arrangements for the meeting
      • Identify related conferences held on the subject during the past 3 years and describe how the proposed conference is similar to, and/or different from these.
      • Describe strategies for:
        • Involving the appropriate representation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in the planning and implementation of, and participation in, the proposed conference
        • Identifying and publicizing resources for child care and other types of family care at the conference site to allow individuals with family care responsibilities to attend
        • Publicizing the conference to all interested participant
  • Diversity Plan
    • Applications must include a Diversity Plan attachment in the Other Attachment section named “DiversityPlan.pdf” (no spaces) that should not exceed one-page in length. The Diversity Plan attachment should:
      • Specifically describe the involvement of or plans to enhance diversity by increasing individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented groups (e.g., underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women) in the selection of and/or the makeup of:
        • Organizing committee
        • Speakers
        • Invited participants (e.g., session chairs, panel discussants, etc.)
        • Attendees
      • Applicants should consider the geographical conference area from where anticipated participants will come (i.e., national, statewide), the expected size and composition of the audience, as well as the method of selection in describing plans to enhance diversity and how efforts will be assessed afterwards. Where applicable, applicants should describe the success of previous strategies to enhance diversity in the planning and implementation of conferences.
    • This NIH Open Mike blog and NIH All About Grants podcast provide additional information about diversity plans for conference applications.
  • Safety Plan (to be submitted as Just-in-Time materials)
    • Effective with the April 12, 2022 application due date, a Plan to Promote Safe Environments is required as part of Just-In-Time materials should the application be recommended for funding (NOT-OD-22-074). 
    • At a minimum, “safety plans” are required to include the following elements:
      • Statement of commitment to provide a safe environment
      • Expectations of behavior including list of behaviors considered harassing (specific emphasis on harassment, sexual, racial, ethnic, or otherwise)
      • Instructions on how to confidentially report alleged violations of the expectations of behavior to conference organizers
      • Description of how the organizers will assess allegations and the consequences for those who are found to violate the expectations of behavior
      • Information explaining that individuals who have questions, concerns or complaints related to harassment are also encouraged to contact the conference organizer or the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
      • Information about how to file a complaint with HHS OCR (see OCR’s webpage, Filing a Civil Rights Complaint)
      • Information explaining that filing a complaint with the conference organizer is not required before filing a complaint of discrimination with HHS OCR, and that seeking assistance from the conference organizer in no way prohibits filing complaints with HHS OCR
      • Information explaining how individuals can notify NIH about concerns of harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and other forms of inappropriate conduct at NIH-supported conferences (see NIH’s Find Help webpage)
    • Along with the safety plan to be shared with attendees, R13/U13 applicants recommended for funding must also provide to NIH as part of Just-in-Time materials:
      • describe the strategy that will be used to communicate the Safety Plan to conference attendees and a plan to document allegations and resulting actions.
      • provide information on the steps the organizers will take to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all attendees, free from discrimination and harassment

               This NIH Open Mike blog and NIH All About Grants podcast provide additional information about Safety plans for conference applications

  • Appendix
    • Appendix material only allowed if specifically requested in the funding opportunity announcement.
  • Period of Support
    • Most ICs will accept applications for up to 5 years of support when a series of annual or biannual conferences are proposed by a permanently sponsoring organization. Applications requesting multiple years of support must provide the following additional information for each future year requested, in as much detail as possible:
      • meeting topic(s)
      • tentative date(s)
      • location(s)
      • participants contingency plans for future meetings dependent upon, for example, the outcome of the first year’s conference or developments in the field.

A Note about Conference Grant Awards

As stated in NOT-OD-15-152, Civil Rights Protections in NIH-Supported Research, Programs, Conferences and Other Activities, consistent with  existing federal civil rights laws, it is expected that organizers of NIH-supported conferences and scientific meetings take steps to maintain a safe and respectful environment for all attendees by providing an environment free from discrimination and harassment, sexual or otherwise . It is expected that organizers of NIH-supported conferences employ strategies that seek to prevent or mitigate the effects of discrimination and harassment, sexual and otherwise. Examples of strategies include but are not limited to:

  • Establishing a conference code of conduct with clearly stated expectations of behavior, systems of reporting, and procedures for addressing inappropriate behavior. The code of conduct and reporting mechanisms should be clear and accessible to all meeting attendees.
  • Providing resources to support individuals who report incidents of harassment, including: 
    • personnel trained in advocacy and counseling,
    • referrals to legal or health care resources,
    • procedures for ensuring the safety of all conference attendees, up to and including removing a perpetrator from the conference, and
    • conducting conference climate surveys specifically related to sexual harassment and professional misconduct.

As a part of the Terms and Conditions of a Conference Grant or Cooperative Agreement Award, awardees should ensure that all conference material (promotional materials, agenda, publications on internet sites) includes an acknowledgement of NIH grant support. A disclaimer stating the following should also be included where appropriate:

“Funding for this conference was made possible [in part] by [insert grant number] from [insert IC name]. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.”


All programmatic and scientific questions should be directed to the R13/U13 program official at the appropriate NIH Institute and Center. See the R13/U13 Contacts and Special Interest website.


Active Funding Opportunity Announcements