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
R41 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants - Phase I
R42 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants - Phase II
R43 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants - Phase I
R44 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants - Phase II
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 11.4.3: Payback.

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 11.4.2: Implementation.

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:

  • A Single Overall Component: The Overall Component describes the entire application and provides an overview of how each of the other components fit together.
  • One or more Other Component Types: Other Component types (e.g., Admin Core, Project Core) will vary by opportunity and will be specified in the FOA.
  • Summaries: Information is automatically compiled from the data provided by the applicant in the individual components and included as part of the Overall Component in the agency-assembled application to help reviewers and staff work with the application. The following summaries are generated:
  • Component
  • Performance Sites
  • Human Subjects - Clinical Trials - Vertebrate Animals- hESC
  • Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines
  • Budget
  • Program Income
  • Senior/Key Personnel
  • Biosketches

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 Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) 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 Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) 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 Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark
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 Small Business Programs, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), are known as America's Seed Fund because they provide U. S. small businesses with over $1 billion each year in non-dilutive funding for early-stage healthcare product development. These programs support U.S.-owned and operated small businesses to engage in research and development activities to develop innovative technologies that have a strong potential for commercialization and patient impact. HHS focuses on a wide variety of high-impact technologies including drugs, biologics, medical devices, diagnostics, digital health products, and research tools.

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 SBIR / STTR description page.

Confirm Small Business Eligibility Criteria.

Develop an Innovative Research and Development Proposal with Commercial Potential

Determine which SBIR/STTR funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is most appropriate for your idea. The general Omnibus SBIR/STTR solicitations allow researchers to submit their own ideas to NIH, Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Targeted SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunity Announcements solicit proposal that address targeted research areas of special interest. Before starting the application process, you should speak with an HHS SBIR/STTR representative, usually referred to as Program Officials, to get feedback on the programmatic fit of your project. If you are unsure of who to contact, you can email SEED (Small business Education and Entrepreneurial Development) at SEEDinfo@nih.gov.

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.

Phased Program:

Both the SBIR and STTR programs are organized in two phases of government funding:

  • Phase I: Supporting Feasibility and Proof of Concept; and
  • Phase II: Supporting Research and Development.

An expectation of the SBIR and STTR programs is that award recipients will use internal resources, or additional follow-on funding from the private sector, to move the product or service developed through their Phase II award into the marketplace. While not a Phase I or II, The Commercialization Readiness Pilot (CRP) program uses SBIR funding to provide additional support to advance products toward commercialization. CRP applicants must comply with SBIR eligibility requirements and follow all SBIR Phase II application instructions.

The table below summarizes the types of SBIR/STTR applications.

ApplicationType Definition Participating HHS Component Commercialization Plan Requirement
Phase I Focuses on the feasibility, technical merit, and commercial potential of the project. NIH, CDC*, FDA* No
Fast-Track Phase I and Phase II submitted and reviewed in one application. The Fast-Track mechanism can minimize the funding gap between phases but requires a fully developed Phase II application/plan at the time of submission. NIH Yes
Direct Phase II (SBIR Only) Small businesses that have already demonstrated scientific and technical merit and feasibility but have not received a Phase I SBIR or STTR for that project can apply for a Direct to Phase II. Small businesses can submit a Direct to Phase II application regardless of the funding source for the proof of principle work on which the proposed Phase II research is based. However, small businesses that are eligible to submit Phase II applications for projects that were supported with a Phase I SBIR or STTR award are required to submit the regular Phase II application. NIH Yes
Phase II Continues the research and development efforts initiated in Phase I. A small business can apply for a Phase II award once the Phase I milestones have been reached, even if that occurs before the end of the Phase I award. Applications for a Phase II award may be submitted up to six receipt dates after the Phase I budget period expires. Only one Phase II award is allowed for each project supported by a Phase I award. NIH, CDC*, FDA* Yes
Phase IIB For projects that require extraordinary time and effort beyond the Phase II to achieve commercialization. . *Must have received a Phase II to apply* NIH Yes
Commercialization Readiness (CRP) Pilot Program Provides Phase II and Phase IIB awardees with technical assistance and/or funding for late stage development. 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* NIH, CDC Yes

* CDC and FDA participate in SBIR only.

The current budget guidelines for the SBIR and STTR programs can be found in the Omnibus SBIR/STTR solicitations. The budget guidelines are the same for both programs, but individual NIH Institutes and Centers can set their own budget limits and Targeted SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunity Announcements may have their own budgetary guidance. The NIH recognizes that some biomedical innovations require funding levels above the award guidelines to reach the marketplace. For those topics, the NIH has a waiver from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to allow larger awards. 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 total award amounts listed in the solicitation. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH Program Officers 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. Not all Institutes or Centers offer Phase IIB or CRP awards and allowable budgets may vary. For a full listing of those Institutes or Centers that accept Phase IIBs or CPRs, see the Omnibus Solicitation program Descriptions and Research Topics document.