Clarification of NIAMS Participation on PA-09-164 "NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21)"

Notice Number: NOT-AR-10-023

Key Dates
Release Date: September 1, 2009

Issued by
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), (


The purpose of this notice is to announce a change in the NIAMS use of the R21 activity code. This pertains only to investigators applying to PA-10-069 NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21) and proposing research within the NIAMS mission including studies related to arthritis, musculoskeletal or skin biology or diseases. Participation in this Program Announcement by other NIH Institutes (NEI, NHLBI, NHGRI, NLM, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDCD, NIDA, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIEHS, NIMH, NINDS and NINR) continues, unaffected by this Notice.

In making funding decisions on R21 applications, NIAMS will place a higher priority on projects that are:

  • Innovative, ground-breaking projects with potential for significant impact;
  • Projects that involve novel technology or tool development, and have the potential to significantly accelerate research fields;
  • Projects that propose the novel application of methods, technologies, or conceptual approaches from outside biomedical science to a research problem in the NIAMS mission area.

Projects that will be considered a lower priority include:

  • Projects specifically to develop preliminary data for longer-term projects in a well established research area;
  • New investigator starter grants;
  • Pilot projects that do not exhibit a high degree of innovation.

All researchers applying for NIAMS R21 grants (including resubmission applications) are encouraged to contact their NIAMS Program Director to discuss whether the project is best suited for an R21 or another type of grant. Applicants proposing pilot projects that do not meet the special characteristics of the R21 grant, as described above, should instead consider applying for a Research Project Grant (Parent R01), (

New investigators are encouraged to apply for an R01 (see NOT-OD-09-013, "Revised New and Early Stage Investigator Policies, New investigators and early stage investigators are not given the same special considerations in NIAMS funding decisions for R21 applications as with R01 applications.
New investigators needing support for pilot research that will likely lead to a subsequent individual research project grant (R01) should consider applying for the NIAMS Small Grant Program for New Investigators (R03) (


Contact the appropriate NIAMS Program Director for the research topic closest to your project.