Restructured and Streamlined Application Guides and Supplemental Instructions Available for Applications Due Dates On or After May 25, 2016

Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-084

Key Dates
Release Date: March 28, 2016

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


This Notice informs the biomedical and health services research communities that we have updated our application guide and supplemental instructions for use with grant application due dates on or after May 25, 2016. In addition to incorporating policy changes summarized in NOT-OD-16-004, the updated (FORMS-D) application guide has been restructured and streamlined based on helpful feedback received from the NIH Request for Information issued last summer (NOT-OD-15-134). Updates to form instructions are listed at: Changes to the approach to delivering application instructions are outlined below.

Key changes:

  • Created a new How to Apply - Application Guide webpage that will serve as your new central resource for competing application submission information.
    • Includes all versions of the application instructions.
    • Provides process information from registering and preparing to apply, to developing and submitting your application, submission policies, and more.
  • Took a new approach to the format of the general application instructions, that:
    • Provides an interactive HTML version of the general application instructions that has been optimized for easy access to key instructions on each form.
    • Offers a PDF version of the general application instructions as well.
    • Includes application instructions for all types of grant mechanisms in a single resource and an easy to use integrated format.
    • Provides general instructions for each field, highlighting any additional field level instruction for specific mechanisms (research, career development, training, fellowship, multi-project, and small business)
  • Provided new, filtered views of the application instructions specific to research, career development, training, fellowship, multi-project, and small business applications.
    • Shows only the instructions needed to apply for a particular mechanism
    • Reduces the amount of information applicants have to go through to complete their application.
    • Customizes experience for applicants working on applications for specific mechanisms.
  • Provided in PDF format only.
  • Posted a chart that shows which application instructions to follow for each activity code.
  • Edited and formatted content to eliminate duplicative information, and to improve clarity and scanability.
    • Consolidated Federal-wide and HHS-specific instructions for all SF 424 research & related (R&R) forms. These instructions are purely HHS-specific now, and the HHS logo has been removed.
  • Provided automatic redirects from old to new URLs to minimize impact of change in approach.
  • Provided access to format pages, including biosketch and data table documents, under the format attachment link on the How to Apply - Application Guide webpage as well as on the NIH forms page.

We expect the changes in the application guide to make it easier for our applicants to find the information they need. Please provide us feedback so that as we continue to improve your experience, we can be sure we are meeting the needs of our applicant community.


Please direct all inquiries to:

NIH Grants Information
Email: (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-945-7573