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NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21)


Release Date: May 8, 2020 
Expiration Date: May 8, 2023

Contacts and Special Interests
Contacts and Special Interests

The R21 grant mechanism is intended to encourage exploratory/developmental research by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of project development. The NIH has standardized the Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21) application characteristics, requirements, preparation, and review procedures in order to accommodate investigator-initiated (unsolicited) grant applications. See the
NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21) page for more information.
There is also a list of ICs that do not accept unsolicited R21 applications. Non-participating ICs might solicit other R21 applications using Requests for Applications (RFAs) or Program Announcements (PAs) to meet specific program needs. Information about such initiatives can be obtained in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts at and by consulting with NIH staff. In some cases those announcements may specify different application characteristics, review criteria, and receipt dates.

R21 Participating Institutes and Centers
R21 Non-Participating Institutes and Centers
  • NIH Institutes and Centers that DO NOT ACCEPT R21 applications in response to the Parent R21 Announcement but ONLY accept R21 applications in response to their specific funding opportunity announcements: FIC , NCATS, NCINHLBI, NIDDK, NIGMS, NIMH, NINDS, and ORIP.

Scientific/Research Contact
Scientific Research Areas of Interest
Financial or Grants
Management Contacts
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Wen G. Chen, MMSc, PhD
Telephone: 301-451-3989
Shelley Carow
Telephone: 301-594-3788
National Eye Institute (NEI) Ellen Liberman, PhD
Telephone 301- 451-2020
Karen Robinson Smith
Telephone: 301-451-2020
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Bettie J. Graham, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-496-7531
NHGRI will support the development of resources, approaches, and technologies that will accelerate genomic research on the structure of genomes, the biology of genomes, and the biology of disease; that will use genomics to advance the science of medicine; and that will incorporate genomics to improve the effectiveness of healthcare. NHGRI will also support genomic research in several cross-cutting areas, including the ethical, legal and societal implications of genomics and genetics research, bioinformatics, technology development, and research training and career development.
In general, NHGRI supports studies that provide generalizable methods and knowledge.  Applications for studies relevant only to a particular disease or organ system should be directed to the appropriate Institute or Center. NHGRI strongly encourages potential applicants to contact program staff in the early stages of developing your application. The contact information for the three scientific programs are:
 Division of Genome Science:
 Division of Genomic Medicine:
 Division of Genomics and Society:
Deanna L. Ingersoll
Grants Administration Branch
Telephone: 301-435-7858
National Institute on Aging (NIA) Dr. Sanoj Suneja
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-402-7710
Traci Lafferty
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-496-8987
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research
Gregory Bloss
Telephone: 301-443-3865

Division of Medications Development Research
Joanne B. Fertig, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-443-0635

Division of Metabolism and Health Effects
Svetlana Radaeva, Ph.D.

Telephone: 301-443-1189
Judy Fox
Telephone: 301-443-4704
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Conrad Mallia, Ph.D.
Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation (DAIT)
Telephone: 240-627-3491
Madelon Halula, PhD
Division of AIDS (DAIDS)
Telephone: 240-292-4843   
Clayton Huntley, PhD
Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID)
Telephone:  240-627-3279
Ann Devine
Telephone: 240-669-2988
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) For information regarding NIAMS supported scientific areas/programs and contacts, please see: Erik Edgerton
Telephone: 301- 594-7760

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)


NICHD Referral Office
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

The NICHD supports research in areas relevant to normal and abnormal human development, including contraception, fertilization, pregnancy, childbirth, prenatal and postnatal development; childhood development through adolescence; intellectual and developmental disabilities; and rehabilitation medicine.

Grant applications and project proposals must fall within the missions of the scientific branches of NICHD's Division of Extramural Research or its National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to visit these pages for recent scientific advances and emerging public health topics.

If you have questions about projects within a specific research area, you may find an NICHD program officer at


Bryan S. Clark, MBA
Grants Management Branch
Telephone: 301-402-0915

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Tracy Waldeck, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-827-5844
Pam Fleming
Telephone: 301-480-1159
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Nancy L. Freeman, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-402-3458
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) uses the Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21) to support the development of novel ideas, technologies, or methodologies at an early stage of development which have the potential to break new ground or extend toward new directions or applications.
The NIDCD supports basic and clinical biomedical and behavioral research in the communication sciences of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech and language. The proposed research must be focused on one or more of these scientific mission areas.
Christopher Myers
Telephone:  301-435-0713
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) Contact information can be found at:
Integrative Biology and Infectious Diseases Branch
Nadya Lumelsky, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-594-7703
Center for Clinical Research
Dena Fischer, DDS, MSD, MS
Telephone: 301-594-4876
Translational Genomics Research Branch
Kathryn Stein, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-827-4653
Behavioral and Social Science Research Branch
Melissa Riddle, Ph.D.
Telephone:  301-451-3888
For current funding opportunities and contacts, see
Dede Rutberg, MBA
Chief Grants Management Officer
Telephone: 301-594-4798
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) will accept investigator-initiated research projects using the R21 mechanism for all areas of environmental health science research; particularly those defined as NIEHS special emphasis areas. Details on these areas can be found at
To obtain more information about existing NIEHS program areas and their corresponding program administrators, see
Michelle Victalino
Telephone:  984-287-3336
Bryann Benton
Telephone:  919-323-5577
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) will accept investigator-initiated exploratory/developmental projects (R21) for all program areas supported by the Institute.
Please click on links below for descriptions of NIMHD’s main research interest areas and contact information for a scientific program contact in each area:

Community Health and Population Sciences
Clinical and Health Services Research
Integrative Biological and Behavioral Sciences
Priscilla Grant, JD
Telephone: 301-594-8412
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) will accept investigator-initiated R21 applications for exploratory/developmental projects in areas that are mission-relevant ( This includes potentially high-risk/high payoff projects in the early stages of development and projects having innovative scientific ideas. Please contact the NINR Program Director listed in the area of science in which you are interested. NINR Program Staff contacts may be found at:
Brian Albertini
Telephone: 301-594-6869
National Library of Medicine (NLM) Clinical and Public Health Informatics
Dr. Hua-Chuan Sim
Telephone: 301-594-4882
Bioinformatics and Translational Informatics
Dr. Jane Ye
Telephone: 301-594-4882
Consumer Informatics
Dr. Alan VanBiervliet
Telephone: 301-594-4882
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) will accept investigator-initiated R21 applications that explore new areas in its mission relevant areas, which include data science, healthcare/clinical informatics, public health informatics, translational informatics, bioinformatics, consumer health informatics and information sciences. NLM is particularly interested in highly innovative, high-risk/high impact biomedical informatics projects. The range and scope of NLM's research interests is described at
Samantha Tempchin
Telephone: 301-496-4221

This page last updated on December 18, 2020
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