Reminder Regarding Recipient and Applicant Grants Policy Related Inquiries
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

July 13, 2021

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The purpose of this notice is to remind the extramural research community of best practices regarding submission of grants policy related inquiries to NIH.


The NIH grants policy inbox is experiencing an increasing volume of inquiries that are

a) from non-designated contacts, or

b) best directed to the

  • recipient or applicant organization’s internal grants administration contacts (e.g., Office of Sponsored Programs),
  • NIH contacts named in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA),
  • NIH grants management contact at the awarding Institute or Center (IC).

This notice serves as a reminder regarding recipient and applicant grants policy related inquiries.

Policy Reminder

NIH awards are made to recipients, which are most often institutions, not individuals. NIH grants-policy staff members conduct official business with the Authorized Organization Representative (AORs), as detailed in NIHGPS Chapter 2.1.2 Recipient Staff.

As a reminder, inquiries regarding general grants-policy matters are best directed first to the recipient’s Office of Sponsored Programs; specifically, the AOR. In rare instances where these contacts are not able to assist in resolving the inquiry, or determine a need to seek guidance from the NIH on a complex or unusual policy circumstance, recipient/applicant’s AOR, not the PD/PI, may submit policy-related inquiries on the organization’s behalf to the NIH grants policy inbox.

  • For inquiries related to a specific FOA and/or terms and conditions of an award, the recipient with designated authority may submit the inquires to the designated IC contact named in the FOA and/or NOA. Please do not direct specific FOA or NOA inquiries to the OPERA Division of Grants Policy (DGP).
  • For inquiries related to a specific award(s), recipient contacts with designated authority may submit their inquries to the NIH grants management contact at the awarding IC.
  • For inquiries pertaining to general grants policy matters that do not necessarily intersect with a specific FOA or award, the recipient or applicant should consult with their organization’s internal grants administration contacts, e.g. AORs within the Office of Sponsored Programs, closely review the NIH Grants Policy Statement, the FOA (if applicable), and other resources available on the NIH Grants Policy & Compliance webpage and NIH Grants FAQs webpage. Only upon exhausting these resources should the institution’s AOR or Directors of Offices of Sponsored Programs reach out directly to the DGP for assistance using the NIH grants policy inbox at (

As announced recently in NOT-OD-21-122, inquiries from the applicant/institution’s AOR related to changes to the biographical sketch and other support templates should be submitted to Inquiries from faculty will be redirected to the institution’s AOR for details.


Please direct all inquiries from the AOR to:

NIH Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration (OPERA)
Division of Grants Policy

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices