National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Funding Opportunity Title
Academic Research Enhancement Award (Parent R15)
R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA)
Reissue of PA-10-070
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)
93.113, 93.121, 93.172, 93.173, 93.213, 93.233, 93.242, 93.273, 93.279, 93.286, 93.361, 93.389, 93.393, 93.394, 93.395, 93.396, 93.399, 93.837, 93.838, 93.839, 93.846, 93.847, 93.853, 93.855, 93.856, 93.859, 93.865, 93.866, 93.867, 93.879, 93.351
The purpose of the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) program is to stimulate research in educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of the Nation's research scientists, but that have not been major recipients of NIH support. AREA grants create opportunities for scientists and institutions, otherwise unlikely to participate extensively in NIH research programs, to contribute to the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research effort. AREA grants are intended to support small-scale research projects proposed by faculty members of eligible, domestic institutions, to expose students to meritorious research projects, and to strengthen the research environment of the applicant institution.
November 2, 2011
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
January 25, 2012
Letter of Intent Due Date
Application Due Date(s)
Standard dates apply, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.
AIDS Application Due Date(s)
Standard dates apply, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.
Scientific Merit Review
Standard dates apply
Advisory Council Review
Standard dates apply
Earliest Start Date(s)
Standard dates apply
(Now Expired September 12, 2013 per issuance of PA-13-313), Originally January 8, 2015
Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Required Application Instructions
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.
Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is continuing to make a special effort to stimulate research at educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of the Nation's research scientists, but that have not been major recipients of NIH support. Since Fiscal Year (FY) 1985, Congressional appropriations for the NIH have included funds for this initiative, which NIH has implemented through the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) program. Based on the expectation that funds will continue to be available each year, the NIH invites applications for AREA (R15) grants through this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). AREA funds are intended to support new and renewal biomedical and behavioral research projects proposed by faculty members of eligible colleges, universities, schools, and components of domestic institutions.
The AREA program will enable qualified scientists to receive support for small-scale research projects. These grants are intended to create a research opportunity for scientists and institutions otherwise unlikely to participate extensively in NIH programs that support the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research effort. It is anticipated that investigators supported under the AREA program will benefit from the opportunity to conduct independent research; that the grantee institution will benefit from a research environment strengthened through AREA grants and furthered by participation in the diverse extramural programs of the NIH; and that students at recipient institutions will benefit from exposure to and participation in scientific research in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.
The application should include plans to involve undergraduate or graduate students in the proposed research. However, the AREA program is a research grant program, not a training or fellowship program. The application should include plans to expose students to hands-on research and should not include training plans.
For Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) who receive AREA funding, there are additional opportunities to apply for administrative supplements to improve the diversity of the research workforce by supporting and recruiting high school, undergraduate, and graduate students from groups that have been shown to be underrepresented (see PA-08-190).
Research Objectives of the NIH Institutes and Centers
The AREA program website (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/area.htm) provides information about each of the participating Institutes and Centers (ICs), including each IC's research objectives and AREA program representatives. For additional scientific program information and for pre-application guidance, a potential applicant is encouraged to contact the person listed for the particular NIH IC(s) with research interests relevant to the applicant's proposed topic.
In addition, applicants are encouraged to consult the Frequently Asked Questions website for more detailed information about this program.
Application Types Allowed
The OER Glossary and the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.
Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards
The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations, and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
Applicants may request up to $300,000 in direct costs plus applicable Facilities & Administrative (F&A)/indirect costs for the entire project period of up to 3 years. Note when a consortium is involved, the $300,000 direct cost limit is exclusive of consortium F&A costs. These can be requested in addition to the $300,000 direct costs limit.
Award Project Period
The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is 3 years.
NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.
Higher Education Institutions
The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:
In addition, all organizations must meet the following two criteria:
Institutions with Multiple Schools or Colleges
For institutions composed of multiple schools or colleges, the criterion of financial eligibility is based on the amount of NIH support received, not by the institution (university or college) as a whole, but by the individual school/college or aggregation of "other academic components" (as defined in this section) where the PD(s)/PI(s) has a primary appointment (e.g., School of Medicine, College of Nursing, etc.). Thus, each of the following should be considered independently when determining the financial eligibility of the applicant organization.
Additional Eligibility Guidance
To determine the eligibility of an institution, applicants should consult the list of ineligible schools/components on the AREA program website at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/area.htm. If the name of the school/academic component does not appear on the list, it is likely eligible to apply for AREA grants. Applicants should check with their own institutions if unsure.
An AREA grant is permitted to have a subcontract to a non-AREA-eligible institution. However, applicants should keep the goals of the AREA program in mind when preparing the application, which include strengthening the research environment of the institution and exposing students to research.
Although foreign institutions are not eligible, applications may include a foreign collaboration, component, or consortium.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are
not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.
Applicant organizations must complete the following registrations
as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply
for or receive an award. Applicants must have a valid Dun and Bradstreet
Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to begin each of the following
All Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s))
must also work with their institutional officials to register with the eRA
Commons or ensure their existing eRA Commons account is affiliated with the eRA
Commons account of the applicant organization.
All registrations must be completed by the application due date. Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to start the registration process at least 4-6 weeks prior to the application due date.
Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources
necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal
Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to
develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial
and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always
encouraged to apply for NIH support.
For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PD(s)/PI(s), visit the Multiple Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.
For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PD(s)/PI(s), all PD(s)/PI(s) must have a primary faculty appointment at an AREA-eligible institution.
To be eligible for an AREA grant, the PD(s)/PI(s) must meet the following additional criteria.
This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.
NIH will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial peer review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed. Resubmission applications may be submitted, according to the NIH Policy on Resubmission Applications from the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the Apply for Grant Electronically button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.
For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.
The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, mandatory and optional. Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this FOA. Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate optional components.
All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.
In addition to the information requested in the instructions, provide the following information as a PDF attachment in the Facilities & Other Resources section on the Research and Related Other Project Information form.
In addition to the information requested in the instructions, provide the following information in the Biographical Sketch that is attached to the Research and Related Senior/Key Person Profile form.
The total budget for all years of the proposed project must be requested in Budget Period 1. Do not complete Budget Periods 2 or 3. They are not required and will not be accepted with the application.
Complete only Budget Period 1 of either the PHS398 Modular Budget component or the R&R Budget component.
PHS398 Modular Budget Component (direct costs of $250,000 or less):
Follow all instructions in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide, noting the following specifications for R15 applications.
Budget Period 1: Direct Costs
Budget Period 1: Indirect Costs:
Budget Justification: Please attach the Personnel Justification and Consortium Justification. If the requested budget requires any additional justification, attach an Additional Narrative Justification.
R&R Budget Component (direct costs of $250,001 to $300,000):
Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, noting the following specifications for R15 applications.
Budget Period 1: Direct Costs
Budget Period 1: Indirect Costs:
Budget Justification: Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Since a primary objective of the AREA program is to expose students to meritorious research, PD(s)/PI(s) should include undergraduate (preferably, if available) and/or graduate students in the proposed research to the extent practical. If students are available and will be involved in the research, indicate aspects of the proposed research in which they will participate. If participating students have not yet been individually identified, the number and academic level of those to be involved should be provided.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:
Resource Sharing Plan
Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies; GWAS) as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit in advance of the deadline to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.
Organizations must submit applications via Grants.gov, the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies. Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration.
Applicants are responsible for viewing their application in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.
Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.
For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.
All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF 424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD(s)/PI(s) Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.
The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
See more tips for avoiding common errors.
Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-10-115..
Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.
For this particular announcement, note the following:
The objectives of the R15 program are to (1) provide support for meritorious research, (2) strengthen the research environment of schools that have not been major recipients of NIH support, and (3) expose available undergraduate and graduate students in such environments to meritorious research. Preliminary data are not required for an R15 application; however, they may be included if available.
Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to make an important scientific contribution to the research field(s) involved, to provide research opportunities to students, and to strengthen the research environment of the institution, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).
Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.
Does the project address an important problem or a barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? If funded, will the AREA award have a substantial effect on the school/academic component in terms of strengthening the research environment and exposing students to research?
Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD(s)/PI(s), do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Do the PD(s)/PI(s) have suitable experience in supervising students in research?
Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?
Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses
well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project?
Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success
presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the
strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be
If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?
Does the application provide sufficient evidence that the project can stimulate the interests of students so that they consider a career in the biomedical or behavioral sciences?
Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Does the application demonstrate the likely availability of well-qualified students to participate in the research project? Does the application provide sufficient evidence that students have in the past or are likely to pursue careers in the biomedical or behavioral sciences?
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact/priority score, but will not give separate scores for these items.
Protections for Human Subjects
For research that involves human subjects but does
not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR
Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human
subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their
participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to
subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the
subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data
and safety monitoring for clinical trials.
For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines.
Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children
When the proposed project involves clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for inclusion of minorities and members of both genders, as well as the inclusion of children. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines.
The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.
Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.
For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.
For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.
For Revisions, the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact/priority score.
Applications from Foreign Organizations
Select Agent Research
Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).
Resource Sharing Plans
Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).
Budget and Period of Support
Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Review assignments will be shown in the eRA Commons.
As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:
Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD(s)/PI(s) will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons.
Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH
will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as
described in the NIH Grants
A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.
Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.
Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to the DUNS, CCR Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.
All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.
Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award
Progress reports for multiyear funded (MYF) awards are due annually on or before the anniversary of the budget/project period start date of the award. The reporting period for a MYF progress report is the calendar year preceding the anniversary date of the award. Information on the content of the progress report and instructions on how to submit the report through the eRA Commons are posted at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/myf.htm.
A final progress report, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later. All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.
We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.
GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and
process, finding NIH grant resources)
eRA Commons Help Desk(Questions regarding eRA Commons
registration, tracking application status, post submission issues)
Phone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Program Guidelines and other information related to the AREA program are available on the AREA web site at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/area.htm.
Questions regarding eligibility, policies, procedures, and other administrative aspects of the NIH AREA program should be referred first to the Office of Sponsored Programs at the educational institution.
All programmatic and scientific questions should be directed to NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) sponsoring the AREA program. See AREA contacts.
For NIH-wide policy and other questions about the AREA
program, please contact the R15 mailbox: R151@mail.nih.gov.
Examine your eRA Commons account for review assignment and contact information (information appears two weeks after the submission due date).
All financial and grants management questions should be
directed to NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) sponsoring the AREA program. See AREA contacts
Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.
Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices
Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
NIH... Turning Discovery Into Health®
Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.