New NIH Policy on Efficient Spending Related to Grants Supporting Conferences and Meetings

Notice Number: NOT-OD-12-041

Updates: The following updates relating to this announcement have been issued:

Key Dates
Release Date: January 27, 2012

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


Conference Grants (R/U13s):

Effective immediately, NIH will implement the HHS Policy on Promoting Efficient Spending: Use of Appropriated Funds for Conferences and Meetings, Food, Promotional Items, and Printing and Publications by modifying longstanding grants policy.  The new policy applies to NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (hereafter referred to as grants) where the primary purpose of the grant is to support a Conference and/or Scientific Meeting (i.e. R13s and U13s); however, other grant mechanisms that are specifically issued to support conferences will be considered on a case by case basis.


HHS recently issued new policies for the support of conferences and meetings, food, promotional items, and printing and publications. These policies promote the Department’s commitment to comply with appropriations law and act in a fiscally responsible manner by minimizing administrative costs to perform mission critical functions in the most efficient, cost effective way. (For additional information, see the January 3, 2012 Memorandum).

These policies also support the Executive Order on Promoting Efficient Spending (EO 13589); the Executive Order on Delivering an Efficient, Effective, and Accountable Government (EO 13576); and Office of Management and Budget Memorandum on Eliminating Excess Conference Spending and Promoting Efficiency in Government (M-35-11).
As such, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces revised policies for conferences and meetings, detailed in this Guide Notice.

New Policy

New Policy Affecting Grant Awards:  Effective with grant awards issued on/after the date of this Notice, a new term and condition which prohibits food/meal costs from being supported or charged to NIH-supported conference grants will be included on all competing and noncompeting NIH R13 and U13 awards.  Specifically, the following term will apply:
“Direct charges for meals/food and beverages are unallowable charges to this project.”

For conference grants previously awarded with FY2012 funds, NIH will not revise the award to modify the terms and conditions of the grants.  However, grantees are strongly encouraged to apply this new policy broadly to all active R13 and U13 awards.

New Policy Affecting Applications:   The parent conference grant funding opportunity announcement (FOA) and other active R13/U13 FOAs will be revised to specify that meals/food and beverages are unallowable charges to NIH-supported conference grants.  Applicants preparing applications for the April 12, 2012 and subsequent due dates must submit application requests in accordance with this new policy.

For applications already submitted, the NIH awarding component will ensure all applications selected for funding are awarded in accordance with this new policy.

Research Grants and Other Mechanisms that are not Awarded Specifically to Support Conferences:  The policy does not apply to research grants and other mechanism that are not awarded specifically to support conferences.  Any meetings conducted under these programs are considered an ancillary effort under the grant and cooperative agreement and are not subject to the new policy.  In these cases, the allowability of food-related costs is governed by the respective cost principles and the terms of award which include references to the NIH Grants Policy Statement.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Division of Grants Policy
Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration
National Institutes of Health
6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 350
Bethesda, MD 20892

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

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