Release Date:  December 15, 1998


National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expanding its use of the Modular Grant
Application and Award.  In modular grant applications, total direct costs not
exceeding $250,000 per year will be requested in $25,000 increments instead of
being compiled from detailed and separate budget categories.  The implementation
of modular application, review and award procedures is as follows:

o  Beginning with April 1999 receipt dates, modular grant applications will be
implemented for Small Business Technology Transfer grants, Phase I (R41), and
Small Business Innovation Research grants, Phase I (R43).

o  Beginning with the May 25, 1999 receipt date, modular grant applications will
be implemented for Academic Research Enhancement Awards (R15).

o  Beginning with the June 1, 1999 receipt date, modular application, review, and
award procedures will apply to all competing individual research project grants
(R01), small grants (R03), and exploratory/developmental grants (R21).

NIH and Institute/Center guidelines and Program Announcements soliciting
applications involving these grant mechanisms are being revised to reflect the
new modular grant format.  Unsolicited, investigator-initiated applications
requesting more than $250,000 in any year and applications for grant activities
not specified above will be required to follow the traditional application
instructions and applicable NIH policies.

Requests for Applications (RFAs) soliciting applications of $250,000 total direct
costs or less will also follow the modular grant process.  RFAs soliciting
applications greater than $250,000 may be modular, at the discretion of the
issuing Institute/Center(s), as specified in the published RFA.


The modular grant initiative expands the existing streamlining and reinvention
initiatives that are designed to concentrate the focus of investigators, their
respective institutions, peer reviewers, and NIH staff on the science NIH
supports, rather than on the details of budgets.  Through its simplified budget
reporting features, the modular grant application also will help address the
broader NIH goal of reducing the length of time between application receipt and
grant award.  These goals are consistent with the understanding of the research
grant award as a grant-in-aid.

The modular grant application and award have been extensively pilot tested during
the past four years in more than 25 separate solicitations, covering a wide
variety of award mechanisms issued by the National Heart, Lung and Blood
Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease
(NIAID).  The procedures to be implemented are the result of input from numerous
NIH staff members, NIH-supported investigators, grantee institution
administrators, and members of peer review groups.  Finally, NIH data indicate
that almost 90 percent of competing individual research project grant (R01)
applications request $250,000 or less in direct costs.  On the basis of this
experience, the size of the modules and the maximum of $250,000 were selected.


The first full year of implementation will be a period for comment.  NIH welcomes
comments on the experiences and concerns of investigators, reviewers, applicant
organizations, and staff.  Adjustments and refinements to the procedures will be
made after the comment period.  A formal assessment of the process will follow. 
Comments on modular grant procedures may be addressed to


The following features apply specifically to modular grant applications that use
the PHS 398 form.  Features applicable to SBIR Phase I (R43) applications that
use the PHS 6246-1 form and STTR Phase I (R41) applications that use the PHS
6246-3 form will be included in the appropriate solicitations.

o  Applications will request direct costs in $25,000 modules, up to a total
direct cost request of $250,000 per year for all unsolicited new, revised, and
competing continuation R01, R03, R15, R21, R41, and R43 grants and competing
supplements, as well as applications responding to RFAs for these mechanisms. 
Specific grant mechanisms, e.g., R03, R15, R21, and Institute/Center programs may
define a particular number or range of modules allowed.

o  A typical modular grant application will request the same number of modules
in each year.

o  Application budgets will be simplified.  Detailed categorical budget
information will not be submitted with the application; budget form pages of the
application kits will not be used.  Instead, total direct costs requested for
each year will be presented.  Information, in narrative form, will be provided
only for Personnel and, when applicable, for Consortium/Contractual Costs.  See
section on application instructions below.

o  Additional narrative budget justification will be required only if there is
a variation in the number of modules requested.

o  There will be no routine escalation for future years.  In determining the
total for each budget year, applicants should first consider the direct cost of
the entire project period.  Well-justified modular increments or decrements in
the total direct costs for any year of the project that reflect substantial
changes in expected future activities may be requested.  For example, purchase
of major equipment in the first year may justify a higher overall budget in the
first, but not in succeeding years.

o  Scientific Review Groups (SRG) will evaluate the budget on the basis of a
general, expert estimate of the total effort and resources required to carry out
the proposed research, rather than on the basis of detailed categorical costs. 
Recommendations for change in the budget will be made in modules.  Reviewers also
may comment on the requested budget without making specific recommendations,
suggesting issues to be handled by NIH staff.

o  Other Support pages of the PHS 398 will not be submitted with the application.

o  Information on other research activities of the principal investigator and key
personnel will be provided as part of the "Biographical Sketch."  This
information will include the goals of any active research and of research
conducted during the previous three years, and will be used by reviewers in the
assessment of investigators' qualifications to carry out the proposed project.

o  Following peer review, information about Other Research Support will be
requested by NIH from the applicant for applications being considered for award.

o  Additional budget information will be requested only under special

o  Every attempt will be made to fund these grants at a level at or close to the
recommended total direct costs.  In unusual situations, individual Institutes and
Centers may make some reductions to accommodate portfolio management policies.

o  Submission, review, and award of competitive supplements will follow modular

o  Modular grant awards are eligible for administrative supplements, in
accordance with current policy.


o  Modular Awards are issued without direct cost categorical breakdowns. Thus,
the significant rebudgeting provision does not apply.  In accordance with
applicable cost principles and the NIH Grants Policy Statement, recipients are
required to allocate and account for costs related to their awards by category
within their institutional accounting systems.

o  Beginning with the June 1, 1999 receipt date, applications will be subject to
the Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process (SNAP).  Additional information on
SNAP can be found in the following NIH Guide Notices: 07/05/96 (Vol. 25, No. 22),
10/27/95 (Vol. 24, No. 38), 01/20/95 (Vol. 24, No. 2) and 10/28/94 (Vol. 23, No.


In preparing Modular Grant Applications, standard instructions for specific award
mechanisms should be followed: [PHS 398 (R01, R03, R15, R21), 6246-1 (SBIR Phase
I), or 6246-3 (STTR Phase I)] with these specific modifications reflecting
modular budget and just-in-time concepts:

PHS 398

o  FACE PAGE: Items 7a and 7b should be completed, indicating Direct Costs (in
$25,000 increments up to a maximum of $250,000) and Total Costs [Modular Total
Direct plus Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs] for the initial budget
period.  Items 8a and 8b should be completed indicating the Direct and Total
Costs for the entire proposed period of support.

of the PHS 398.  It is not required and will not be accepted with the

categorical budget table on Form Page 5 of the PHS 398.  It is not required and
will not be accepted with the application.

o  NARRATIVE BUDGET JUSTIFICATION - Use a Modular Grant Budget Narrative page.
(See for sample pages.) 
At the top of the page, enter the total direct costs requested for each year.

o  Under Personnel, List key project personnel, including their names, percent
of effort, and roles on the project. No individual salary information should be

For Consortium/Contractual costs, provide an estimate of total costs (direct plus
facilities and administrative) for each year, each rounded to the nearest $1,000. 
List the individuals/organizations with whom consortium or contractual
arrangements have been made, the percent effort of key personnel, and the role
on the project.  Indicate whether the collaborating institution is foreign or
domestic.  The total cost for a consortium/ contractual arrangement is included
in the overall requested modular direct cost amount.

Provide an additional narrative budget justification for any variation in the
number of modules requested.

o  BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH - The Biographical Sketch provides information used by
reviewers in the assessment of each individual's qualifications for a specific
role in the proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall qualifications
of the research team.  A biographical sketch is required for all key personnel,
following the instructions below. No more than three pages may be used for each
person.  A sample biographical sketch may be viewed at:

- Complete the educational block at the top of the form page;
- List position(s) and any honors;
- List selected peer-reviewed publications, with full citations;
- Provide information, including overall goals and responsibilities, on research
projects ongoing or completed during the last three years.

o  CHECKLIST - This page should be completed and submitted with the application. 
If the F&A rate agreement has been established, indicate the type of agreement
and the date. It is important to identify all exclusions that were used in the
calculation of the F&A costs for the initial budget period and all future budget

PHS 6246-1

Instructions for SBIR Phase I applications will be included in the SBIR
solicitation as appropriate.

PHS 6246-3

Instructions for STTR Phase I applications will be included in the STTR
solicitation as appropriate.


Comments and inquiries concerning this notice are encouraged.  Nevertheless, the
instructions and procedures described in this notice must be observed until they
are formally modified through a further notice in the Guide.

Additional information, including sample budget narratives and biographical
sketch, may be found at this site:

Direct inquiries to:

Ronald Geller, Ph.D., Chairman, NIH Modular Grant Committee and
Director, Division of Extramural Affairs
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7100
Bethesda, MD  20892-7922

Direct inquires regarding programmatic issues to:

Janna Wehrle, Ph.D.
Program Director
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AS-19K
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200

Direct inquires regarding review issues to:

Elliot Postow, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms
Center for Scientific Review
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4160
Bethesda, MD  20892-7806

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal/administrative matters to:

Mary Kirker
Grants Management Officer
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Solar Building, Room 4B21
Bethesda, MD  20892

Overall questions and comments can be directed to

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