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GENERAL APPLICATION GUIDE FOR NIH AND OTHER PHS AGENCIES
SF424 (R&R) - Forms Version D
Released: March 24, 2017

G.130 - Program Overview

Research and Other ("R" Series)

The purpose of research and other awards is to provide support for health-related research and development based on the mission of the NIH. Some examples of support include pilot studies; conferences and scientific meetings; small research projects; institutional training and director program projects; resource programs; and new, exploratory and developmental research projects. Awards may be in the form of grants or cooperative agreements.

Additional Instructions for Research:

Additional research instructions will be denoted by a gray call-out box with yellow color coding and with the heading "Additional Instructions for Research" throughout these application instructions.

Before Applying:

  1. Become familiar with Activity Code: Applicants should become familiar with the activity code for which support is being requested. These include many "R" activity codes, as well as some "DP," "G," "S," and "U" activity codes. A comprehensive list of all activity codes, with their descriptions, is available on NIH's Activity Codes Search Results website.
  2. Refer to your specific FOA: Refer to your FOA for specific information associated with the award mechanism, including the eligibility requirements, review criteria, award provisions, any special application instructions, and names of individuals who may be contacted for additional or clarifying information prior to application submission.
  3. Contact Awarding Component: Applicants are encouraged to consult with the NIH Scientific/Research contact of the appropriate awarding component prior to submitting an application, as eligibility criteria, support levels, and availability of awards may vary among NIH Institutes or Centers and other PHS agencies.

The following chart provides a summary of the existing research programs; however, the chart is not a comprehensive list of activity codes. Since this information is subject to change, prospective applicants are encouraged to review NIH's Types of Grant Programs for the most current program information.

Summary of Research Award Programs*

Activity Code Program Description
R01 Research Project
R03 NIH Small Grant Program
R13 Conference
R15 NIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA)
R21 NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award
R25 Education Projects
U01 Research Project - Cooperative Agreements
U13 Conference - Cooperative Agreements
G07 Resources Improvement Grant
S10 Biomedical Research Support Shared Instrumentation Grants
DP1 NIH Director's Pioneer Award (NDPA)

*This is not a comprehensive list of activity codes.

Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application ("K" Series)

The purpose of the career development award (CDA) program is to provide candidates at the postdoctoral, early career, and mid-career stages with opportunities to build on their initial research training and to further develop their research careers through individual or institutional awards.

This section provides instructions for candidates applying for individual career development awards. Applicants for institutional career development programs, such as the K12 award, should follow the guidance provided in the "Additional Instructions for Training" sections.

Reference Letters: Instructions for submitting the required reference letters for applicable programs are not contained in these application instructions. Instead, follow the instructions on NIH's Reference Letters page. Referees must submit reference letters through the eRA Commons by the application due date.

Additional Instructions for Career Development:

Additional career development instructions will be denoted by a gray call-out box with green color coding and with the heading "Additional Instructions for Career Development" throughout these application instructions.

Before Applying:

  1. Become familiar with Activity Code: Applicants should become familiar with the K activity code for which support is being requested. A listing of "K" series activity codes, with their descriptions, is available on the Research Career Development Awards page.
  2. Refer to your specific FOA: Refer to your FOA for specific information associated with the award mechanism, including the eligibility requirements, requirements for a mentor or mentors, review criteria, award provisions, any special application instructions, and names of individuals who may be contacted for additional or clarifying information prior to application submission.
    • FOAs and other guidelines are available on the NIH K Kiosk.
    • Announcements for various career award opportunities are issued periodically in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, a weekly electronic publication, that is available on NIH's Funding page.
    • Some individual K-series programs supported by the NIH include a delayed-award activation and/or two award phases (e.g., K22, K99/R00). NIH intramural researchers may be eligible to apply for these awards. The FOA will include any additional and/or specific instructions that must be followed when applying for such support.
  3. Contact Awarding Component: Applicants are encouraged to consult with the NIH Scientific/Research contact of the appropriate awarding component prior to submitting an application, as eligibility criteria, support levels, and availability of awards may vary among NIH Institutes or Centers and other PHS agencies.

The following chart provides a summary of the existing individual career development programs. Since this information is subject to change, prospective applicants are encouraged to review the K Kiosk for the most current program information.

Summary of Research Career Development Award Programs

Program Description Mentor Reference Letter
K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award Yes Yes
K02 Independent Research Scientist Development Award No No
K05 Senior Research Scientist Award No No
K07 Academic Career Development Award * *
K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award Yes Yes
K18 Research Career Enhancement Award for Established Investigators Yes Yes
K22 Career Transition Award * Yes
K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award Yes Yes
K24 Mid-Career Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research No No
K25 Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award Yes Yes
K26 Mid-Career Investigator Award in Biomedical and Behavioral Research No No
K43 Emerging Global Leader Award Yes Yes
K76 Emerging Leaders Career Development Award Yes Yes
K99/R00 Pathways to Independence Award Yes Yes

*Varies with career status and source of award. Check the FOA.

Institutional Research Training and Career Development Program Applications ("T" Series)

The purpose of research training awards is to provide support for institutional research training programs and opportunities for trainees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels.

Training-specific instructions apply both to NIH-supported Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) institutional research training programs (e.g., T32, T34, T35, T36, T90) and to non-NRSA training and career development programs (e.g. T15, T37, D43, D71, K12, U2R).

Additional Instructions for Training:

Additional training instructions will be denoted by a gray call-out box with blue color coding and with the heading "Additional Instructions for Training" throughout these application instructions.

NRSA Programs: These programs help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to carry out the nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda. Certain specialized training grants, such as undergraduate training grants (T34), are provided under this authority.

Non-NRSA Programs: Non-NRSA training and career development programs operate under different regulatory authorities than NRSA programs. While much of the information may be the same, individuals interested in those programs should carefully read the applicable Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for specific program information and special application instructions. Non-NRSA training programs may have eligibility requirements, due dates, award provisions, and review criteria that differ from those of NRSA programs.

Payback Service Requirement: For NRSA programs that include postdoctoral trainees, the program director must explain the terms of the payback service requirement to all prospective postdoctoral training candidates. A complete description of the service payback obligation is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Section 14.2 on Payback Requirements.

Before Applying:

  1. Become familiar with Activity Code: Applicants should become familiar with the activity code and the purpose of the specific program for which support is being requested. A listing of "T" series activity codes, with their descriptions, is available on the Institutional Training Grants page.
  2. Refer to your specific FOA: Refer to your FOA for specific information associated with the award mechanism and the names of individuals who may be contacted for additional or clarifying information prior to application submission.
    • FOAs and other guidelines are available on the NIH T Kiosk.
    • Announcements for various training programs are issued periodically in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, a weekly electronic publication, that is available on NIH's Funding page.
  3. Contact Awarding Component: Applicants are encouraged to consult with the NIH Scientific/Research contact of the appropriate awarding component prior to submitting an application, as eligibility criteria, support levels, and availability of awards may vary among NIH Institutes or Centers and other PHS agencies.

The following chart provides a summary of the existing training programs. Since this information is subject to change, prospective applicants are encouraged to review the T Kiosk for the most current program information.

Summary of Institutional Training Programs

Activity Code Program Description NRSA?
D43 International Research Training Grants No
D71 International Research Training Planning Grant No
K12 Clinical Scientist Institutional Career Development Program Award No
T32 Institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA) Yes
T34 Undergraduate National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant Yes
T35 National Research Service Award (NRSA) Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grant Yes
T36 National Research Service Award (NRSA) Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grant Yes
T90 Interdisciplinary Research Training Award Yes
U2R International Research Training Cooperative Agreement No

Individual Fellowship Applications ("F" Series)

The purpose of individual fellowship awards is to provide individual research training opportunities to fellows at the graduate and postdoctoral levels. This section contains information for preparing Kirschstein-NRSA (NRSA) fellowship and non-NRSA fellowship applications.

Additional Instructions for Fellowship:

Additional fellowship instructions will be denoted by a gray call-out box with orange color coding and with the heading "Additional Instructions for Fellowship" throughout these application instructions.

NRSA Programs: The NRSA program helps ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to carry out the nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda. NRSA fellowships are awarded as a result of national competition for research training in specified health-related areas. Certain specialized individual fellowships, such as the predoctoral fellowships (F31 and F30), postdoctoral fellowships (F32), senior fellowships (F33), and other institute-specific fellowship programs, are provided under this authority.

Non-NRSA Programs: Fogarty International Center (FIC) and National Library of Medicine (NLM) also have unique funding authorities for fellowships that are not under the NRSA authority. Note that non-NRSA programs may have eligibility requirements, due dates, award provisions, and review criteria that differ from those of NRSA programs. Applicants should refer to their FOA.

Reference Letters: Instructions for submitting the required reference letters for applicable programs are not contained in these application instructions. Instead, follow the instructions on NIH's Reference Letters page. Referees must submit reference letters through the eRA Commons by the application due date.

Payback Service Requirement: For NRSA programs that include postdoctoral fellows, the program director must explain the terms of the payback service requirement to all prospective postdoctoral fellowship candidates. A complete description of the service payback obligation is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Section 14.2 on Payback Requirements.

Before Applying:

  1. Become familiar with Activity Code: Applicants should become familiar with the "F" activity code for which support is being requested. A listing of "F" series activity codes, with their descriptions, is available on the NIH F Kiosk and the AHRQ-Sponsored Training Opportunities page.
  2. Refer to your specific FOA: Refer to your specific FOA for specific information associated with the award mechanism, including the eligibility requirements, requirements for a mentor, review criteria, award provisions, any special application instructions, and names of individuals who may be contacted for additional or clarifying information prior to application submission.
  3. Contact Awarding Component: Applicants are encouraged to consult with the appropriate NIH IC or AHRQ staff prior to submitting an application, as not all predoctoral, postdoctoral, and senior fellowships are supported by each IC or AHRQ.

The following chart provides a list of fellowship activity codes. Since this information is subject to change, prospective applicants are encouraged to review the F Kiosk for the most current program information.

Summary of Individual Fellowship Award Programs

Activity Code Program Description NRSA?
F05 International Research Fellowships No
F30 Individual Predoctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA) for M.D./Ph.D. and Other Dual Degree Fellowships Yes
F31 Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award Yes
F32 Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award Yes
F33 National Research Service Awards for Senior Fellows Yes
F37 Medical Informatics Fellowships No
F38 Applied Medical Informatics Fellowships No
F99/K00 Individual Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award No

 

Multi-project Applications ("M" Series)

A multi-project application is a single submission with multiple, interrelated components that share a common focus or objective.

A component is a distinct, reviewable part of a multi-project application for which there is a business need to gather detailed information as defined in a particular funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Components typically include general information (component organization, project period, project title, etc.), information about performance sites, information about proposed work to be accomplished, and a budget.

Additional Instructions for Multi-project:

Additional multi-project instructions will be denoted by a gray call-out box with red color coding and with the heading "Additional Instructions for Multi-project" throughout these application instructions.

Although multi-project applications use the same forms used for single-project applications, there are some differences in the way multi-project applications are structured. Every multi-project application includes:

For information on how your application will be automatically assembled for review and funding consideration after submission, see the How eRA Assembles Multi-project Applications file.

Before Applying:

  1. Become familiar with Activity Code: Applicants should become familiar with the activity code(s) for which support is being requested. A comprehensive list of all activity codes, with their descriptions, is available on the Activity Codes Search Results website.
  2. Refer to your specific FOA: Refer to your specific FOA for specific information associated with the award mechanism, including special application instructions.
    • The FOA will specify the types of Other Components that should be used when preparing the application, whether each component is optional or required, and any restrictions on the number of times each component can be included in an application.
  3. Contact Awarding Component: Applicants are encouraged to consult with the NIH Scientific/Research contact of the appropriate awarding component prior to submitting an application, as eligibility criteria, support levels, and availability of awards may vary among NIH Institutes or Centers and other PHS agencies.

Collaborating with Other Organizations

Multi-project applications often include a number of collaborating organizations in addition to the applicant organization. The applicant organization always has primary responsibility for and leads the Overall Component. A collaborating organization may be responsible for a small part of a component or have lead responsibility for an entire Other Component within the application.

Depending on the role of the collaborating organization(s) in the project, there are two approaches to structuring a component:

A. Collaborating Organization as the Lead of a Component:

When the bulk of the leadership and work on a component (other than the Overall Component) is performed by a collaborating organization, then that organization can be set up as the lead organization for that component. All the component forms (including the SF 424 R&R Form and the R&R Budget Form) are completed using the collaborating organization's information. On the R&R Budget Form, use the Budget Type "Project" to identify it as the primary budget for the component and provide the collaborating organization's DUNS number and name. Any other organizations involved in the component (including the applicant organization) are included in subaward/consortium budget forms.

From an administrative perspective, the entire component (minus any work done by the applicant organization) is treated as a subaward/consortium to the applicant organization. The structure of the application reflects where the proposed work is being done, not the flow of funds. eRA systems use the DUNS numbers included on budget forms to determine the flow of funds.

B. Collaborating Organization as a Consortium in a Component:

When a collaborating organization does not have a leadership role for a component, then the applicant organization is the component lead, and any collaborating organizations are included using the subaward/consortium budget form.

Multi-project Application Component Forms

You must complete a set of forms for each component.

The assembled application image created for a multi-project application has a predefined order. For information on multi-project application assembly, see the How eRA Assembles Multi-project Applications file.

The chart below summarizes which forms must be completed for each component.

Component Data Forms

Form Overall Admin Core, Core Project, Other named components Indiv Career Dev Career Dev NRSA Training
SF424 R&R cover Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark
PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark
R&R Other Project Information Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark
Project/Performance Sites Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark
R&R Sr/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark
PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report   Optional Optional Optional  
PHS Assignment Request Form Optional        
R&R Budget   Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark  
R&R Subaward Budget Attachment   Optional Optional Optional  
PHS 398 Training Budget         Check Mark
Training Subaward Budget Attachment Form         Optional
PHS Additional Indirect Costs Optional        
PHS 398 Research Plan Check Mark Check Mark      
PHS 398 Career Development Award Supplemental Form     Check Mark    
PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan       Check Mark Check Mark

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

The SBIR and STTR programs, also known as America's Seed Fund, are one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States. These programs allow US-owned and operated small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization.

Additional Instructions for SBIR/STTR:

Additional SBIR/STTR instructions will be denoted by a gray call-out box with purple color coding and with the heading "Additional Instructions for SBIR/STTR" throughout these application instructions.

New to SBIR/STTR?

View our SBIR/STTR Application Process Infographic.

View the Three-Phase Program description page.

Confirm Small Business Eligibility Criteria.

Develop an Innovative Research Idea with Commercial Potential

Determine which SBIR/STTR funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is most appropriate for your idea. The Omnibus SBIR/STTR solicitations allow researchers to submit their own ideas to NIH. Targeted SBIR/STTR FOAs are more focused around specific research areas. Before starting the application process, you should speak with an HHS SBIR/STTR representative at the NIH IC or PHS agency to which you are applying.

Required Registrations

The registration process may take 6 - 8 weeks, so it is important to start early. Learn about the Electronic Submission Process, including the SBA Company Registration, which is unique to SBIR/STTR applicants. Small businesses are encouraged to submit via ASSIST.

Three Phase Program:

Both the SBIR and STTR programs are divided into three phases:

Additionally, the Commercialization Readiness Pilot (CRP) Program uses SBIR funding (as such, applicants must be an SBIR-eligible Small Business), and follows all Phase II instructions (although it is not a Phase I, II, IIB, or III award).

The chart below provides a summary of details for each of those phases.

Application Name Definition Budget / Time Guidelines* Participating HHS Component Commercialization Plan? Grant Type
Phase I Establish the technical merit and feasibility of the proposed R&D efforts $150,000 total costs, 6 - 12 months NIH, CDC, FDA, ACF No New/Resub
Fast-track One application for Phase I and Phase II that is submitted and reviewed together $150,000 + $1,000,000 total costs, 2.5-3 years NIH Yes New/Resub
Direct Phase II (SBIR Only) Bypass Phase I if feasibility studies are completed $1,000,000 total costs, for 2 years NIH Yes New/Resub
Phase II Full R&D Award $1,000,000 total costs, for 2 years NIH, CDC, FDA, ACF Yes Renewal
Phase IIB For projects that require extraordinary time and effort in the R&D phase $1,000,000 total costs per year for up to 3 years NIH Yes Renewal
Commercialization Readiness (CRP) Pilot Program The CRP may fund commercialization activities that are not typically supported through SBIR/STTR Phase II or Phase IIB awards. *Must have Phase II or IIB to apply* Up to $300,000 or $3 million for up to 2 or 3 years NIH, CDC Yes Renewal
Phase III Commercialization activities (eg: Direct sales, partnerships, licensing deals, mergers and acquisitions) N/A Typically not supported by HHS N/A N/A

* At NIH, deviations from the budget guidelines are acceptable, but must be well justified and discussed with NIH program staff prior to application submission. According to statutory guidelines, total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, and fee) normally may not exceed $150,000 for Phase I awards and $1,000,000 for Phase II awards; however, with appropriate justification from the applicant, Congress will allow awards to exceed these amounts by up to 50% as a hard cap ($225,000 for Phase I and $1,500,000 for Phase II). However, NIH has also received a waiver from SBA, as authorized by the statute, to exceed the hard cap (of $225,000 for Phase I and $1,500,000 for Phase II) for specific topics. The list of approved topics can be found on the SBIR/STTR Funding page. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program officials prior to submitting any application in excess of the guidelines and early in the application planning process. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.