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Frequently Asked Questions
Conference Grants (R13)
Last Updated: May 10, 2010

  1. What is a scientific meeting that is eligible for a conference grant award or a conference cooperative agreement award?
    A conference/scientific meeting is defined as a gathering, symposium, seminar, scientific meeting, workshop or any other organized, formal meeting where persons assemble to coordinate, exchange, and disseminate information or to explore or clarify a defined subject, problem, or area of knowledge.  Each NIH Institute and Center (IC) has a scientific purview and different program goals and initiatives that evolve over time. Prior to preparing an application, it is critical that all applicants consult the appropriate IC representative listed in the R13/U13 Website (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r13/) to obtain current information about IC specific program priorities and policies.
  2. How can I determine if NIH is interested in providing funds for my conference or meeting?
    First check with the conference grant coordinator on the Conference Grant Contact List, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/contacts/parent_R13_U13.html.  Then speak with the individual associated with the science in the area for your proposed conference or meeting.  A list of NIH areas of interest by IC is provided on the above website.
  3. Do I have to let someone know that I wish to apply for a conference grant?
    Yes, advance permission to submit an application must be requested early in the process and no later than 6 weeks before the application submission date. A point of contact is provided for each NIH Institute/Center. Your application will not be accepted without the approval of at least one funding/awarding unit at NIH. Acceptance of the application is the prerogative of NIH and does not guarantee funding. A link to the contact list is provided at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/contacts/parent_R13_U13.html.
  4. What do I do if a particular NIH funding component will not accept my application?
    The Institute/Center Conference Grant Contact may refer you to a more appropriate Institute/Center. NIH staff may provide suggestions for alternate sources of funds. Look at other Institute/Center mission statements and priority areas.
  5. Are there budget restrictions?
    Each Institute/Center has programmatic guidelines. Prior to preparing an application, it is critical that all applicants consult the appropriate IC representative listed on the NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings Website (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r13/) to obtain current information about IC specific program priorities and policies. This action is of utmost importance because applications with marginal or no relevance to the participating Institutes, Centers, or Offices will not be accepted for review or possible funding.
  6. Are conference grants included in Just-in-Time and Modular grant application guidelines?
    This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) uses “Just-in-Time” information concepts (see SF424 (R&R) Application Guide). It also uses the non-modular budget format (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm).
  7. What are the eligibility criteria?
    Domestic organizations eligible to receive grants from NIH, including scientific or professional societies, are eligible to apply for conference grants. Both domestic and international conferences may be supported; however, an international conference can be supported only through the U.S. representative organization of an established international scientific or professional society. For example, an international conference outside of the U.S. can be supported only if the applicant organization is domestic (professional society or university).
  8. How will my application be evaluated?
    Each Institute/Center has a process in place.  The Program Announcement https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-294.html gives the review criteria.  Each applicant will receive a written critique.
  9. What is the length of the process?
    Generally, the process will take approximately 6 – 9 months from the application receipt date. The application must be received, reviewed and awarded prior to the beginning of the meeting.
  10. Are there special receipt dates?
    The standard due dates for R13 are: April 12, and August 12, December 12, which are used in the Parent Program Announcement.  Advance permission to submit an application must be obtained.  Applicants should contact NIH staff at least six weeks before submitting the application.  http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm.
  11. Is it possible to request multiple-year funding of a recurring conference?
    Yes, most ICs will accept applications for up to 5 years of support when a series of annual or biannual conferences/meetings is proposed by a permanently sponsoring organization.  The appropriate NIH IC Conference Grant Contact (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/contacts/parent_r13_u13.html) should be consulted for guidance regarding any IC-specific duration requirements.
  12. What is the difference between an R13 and a U13 Conference Grant?
    Under the R13 mechanism, the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.  Under the U13 mechanism, the PD(s)/PI(s) retain(s) the primary responsibility and dominant role for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project, with NIH staff being substantially involved as a partner with the PD(s)/PI(s). The Institute/Center Conference Grant Contact or program staff should be contacted for further discussion.
  13. Can NIH-funded researchers use funds from their research grants to attend scientific meetings?
    Yes, attendance at conferences relevant to the scientific goals of a research project is an allowable cost.
  14. What is the level of support NIH can provide?
    Institutes/Centers have specific guidelines and some have minimum and maximum amounts they provide for conference grants. This should be discussed prior to application and may be linked to the Conference Grant Website. NIH does not normally support the entire cost of a conference.
  15. Do I need to include information about child care in my Conference Plan?
    Yes, part of the application for NIH support of conferences/meetings is documentation of appropriate representation of women, racial/ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and other individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in science. Attendance for some individuals will be dependent on the availability of resources for family care. You will need to describe plans to identify resources for child care and other types of family care at the conference site to allow individuals with family care responsibilities to attend. That information should allow attendees to make arrangements for family care as needed.
  16. If my grant is funded, which budget categories are not allowable for a conference grant?
    Purchase of equipment; transportation costs exceeding U.S. carrier coach class fares; visas; passports; entertainment; tips; bar charges; personal telephone calls; laundry charges; dues; honoraria or other payments for the purpose of conferring distinction or communicating respect, esteem or admiration; patient care; alterations or renovations; facilities and administrative costs/indirect costs.
  17. If my grant is funded, what reports are required and when are they due?
    For single-year conferences, two copies of a final report of the conference must be submitted to the awarding Institute/Center within 90 days after the end of the project period.  The report should include (a) the grant number, (b) the title, date and place of the meeting, (c) the name of the person shown on the application as the conference director, principal investigator, or program director, (d) the name of the organization that conducted the meeting, (e) a list of the individuals, and their institutional affiliations, who participated as speakers or discussants in the formally planned sessions of the meeting, and (f) a summary of topics discussed/conclusions.

    Multiple-year awards require an annual progress report that contains a description of specific plans for the next award period, in similar detail and format as for single meetings.  These are required two months before the end of the budget period.  Again, the final progress report should be submitted within 90 days after the final budget period.

    Copies of proceedings or publications resulting from the meeting, including items (a) through (f) listed above, may be substituted for the annual and final progress report, with approval of the awarding Institute/Center.

    Additional information on support of conferences is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, located at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps/html5/section_14/14.1_general.htm
  18. What types of travel can be supported on conference grants?
    Conference grant applications should clearly express who will be provided travel funds from the grant.  Individual Institutes/Centers may have specific instructions as well.

    Additional information on support of conferences is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, located at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps/html5/section_14/14.1_general.htm
  19. Can the individuals listed under Intramural Programs or NIH Offices provide an advance permission letter for a conference grant submission?
    Only those listed as designated IC contacts can provide the acceptance permission letter. OD offices will not be permitted to approve receipt of conference grant applications. If an OD office wants to sponsor a particular conference, the OD office will need to identify an IC to review/administer the application/grant. The approval to receive the conference grant application will come from the reviewing/administering IC.
  20. Since advance permission to submit an application is required, what criteria will NIH use to determine whether or not to accept an application for a conference grant?
    Each IC will have systems in place to determine their interest in receiving a conference grant.  Basically, the Institute or Center will be interested in a conference grant application that fulfills some facet of their mission and will advance a specific field of research or health issue. Applicants should be prepared to discuss the focus and goals of the conference, the key speakers, and other participants. In addition, the applicant should be prepared to discuss budget matters (including consideration of whether the proposed meeting will be a one-time event or a recurring event) and possibly give recommendations as to other Institutes/Centers or OD Offices that may be interested in providing funds for the conference or scientific meeting. The letter from the IC documenting advance permission to submit an application (i.e., the permission-to-submit letter) must be submitted with the application and attached in the Cover Letter Component.  All applicants must include the advance permission letter from the NIH staff member who has agreed to accept assignment of the application.  The NIH staff member granting advance permission must be one of the designated contacts.
  21. Can an R13/U13 grantee conduct their conference on the NIH campus?
    No. NIH conference facilities are supported by NIH IC Research Management and Support (RMS) funds and it would not be appropriate for an IC to use these facilities for a R13/U13 conference supported with RPG funding. There is also a fairness issue if one grantee is permitted to hold an R1/U13 supported event on the NIH campus and this option is not available to other grantees. R13/U13 conferences may be held at non-NIH federal facilities, provided that the grantee establishes a consortium agreement with that Agency, and follows the standard NIH rules governing the use of NIH grant funds for payments to Federal institutions and Federal employees.
  22. Are there any limits on who can and cannot be charged Registration Fees on an R13/U13 award?
    The grantee must establish a policy or practice that is consistently applied. The general rule is that NIH employees may not be treated differently because of their status an as NIH employee or because of their relationship to the award. This would represent a clear conflict of interest on the part of the NIH employee. If the conference fee is waived for all speakers, and an NIH employee is a speaker, then the fee may be waived for that NIH employee.

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This page last updated on May 10, 2010 
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