REVISED OCTOBER 2019. This document applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements for budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2019.
Funding Opportunity Announcements, FOA, program announcement, PA, request for applications, RFA, parent announcements, clinical trial FOA
The majority of applications submitted to NIH under the categories of research and research training (including fellowships) are investigator-initiated. NIH accepts applications on the application due dates noted on the submission schedule. NIH generally reviews applications in three review cycles per year; however any variations in schedule will be noted in the FOA. Some ICs review applications for Institutional National Research Service Awards (T32) only once a year; such information is generally found in a particular FOA. The schedules for submission, review, and award of investigator-initiated applications are available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm.
Funding Opportunity AnnouncementA publicly available document by which a Federal Agency makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. Funding opportunity announcements may be known as program announcements, requests for applications, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the Agency and type of program. Funding opportunity announcements can be found at Grants.gov/FIND and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. (FOA). A FOA is a publicly available document in which a Federal agency makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. FOAs may be program announcements, requests for applications, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other identifiers depending upon the agency and type of program. All applications must be submitted in response to a FOA regardless if the submission is electronic or on paper. FOAs include information to allow prospective applicants to determine whether to apply.
NIH FOAs primarily fall into the categories of Program Announcements, Requests for Applications, Parent Announcements and Notices of Special Interest. While individual announcements will continue to carry an announcement number reference to PA or RFA, all announcements are FOAs. This general term is used to reference any type of funding announcement. NIH uses the PA and RFA references in the actual announcement number to distinguish between the various types of announcements.
- Program Announcement (PA). A PA is a formal statement about a new or ongoing extramural activity or program. It may serve as a reminder of continuing interest in a research area, describe modification in an activity or program, and/or invite applications for grant support. Most applications in response to PAs may be submitted to a standing submission date and are reviewed with all other applications received at that time using standard peer review processes. NIH may also make funds available through PARs (PAs with special receipt, referral, and/or review considerations) and PASs (PAs with set-aside funds).
PAs may be used for any support mechanism other than construction awards. Unless otherwise specified in the PA, new applications (and associated renewal and revision applications) submitted in response to PAs are treated as investigator-initiated. PAs also are used to annually solicit applications for the SBIR and STTR programs. Those applications must be received by the dates specified in the PA.
- Notices of Special Interest (NOSI). A NOSI succinctly highlights a specific topic of interest, such as a specific area of research or program. It then directs applicants to one or more active FOAs (often parent announcements) for submission of applications for the initiative described.
- Request for Applications (RFA). An RFA is a formal statement that solicits grant or cooperative agreement applications in a well-defined scientific area to accomplish specific program objectives. An RFA indicates the estimated amount of funds set aside for the competition, the estimated number of awards to be made, whether cost sharing is required, and the application submission date(s). For cooperative agreements, the RFA will describe the responsibilities and obligations of NIH and awardees as well as joint responsibilities and obligations. Applications submitted in response to an RFA are usually reviewed by an SRG specially convened by the awarding component that issued the RFA.
- Parent Announcements. Electronic submission of applications requires that applications must be associated with a specific FOA. Therefore, NIH omnibus parent announcements are provided for applicants to submit investigator-initiated (unsolicited) applications. Responding to such an omnibus or umbrella parent FOA ensures that the correct application package is used and enables NIH to receive the application from Grants.gov. This process in no way diminishes the interest of NIH ICs in investigator-initiated, unsolicited research grant applications. Parent announcements are NIH-wide, but some ICs may limit their participation; therefore prospective applicants should check the announcement to determine ICThe NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC," or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award. participation. For institute-specific opportunities in a particular area of science, search the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.
All applications involving one or more clinical trials must be submitted through a FOA specifically designed for clinical trials. NIH will no longer process clinical trial applications through "parent" FOAs or through other FOAs that are not specifically designed to accept clinical trials. This policy will apply to all applications involving one or more clinical trials, including applications that involve a combination of studies that are clinical trials as well as studies that are not. These latter "hybrid" FOAs include applications that will involve a combination of trial and non-trial aims. These and other types of trial applications will also be submitted to clinical trial-specific FOAs if the combination of studies involve a NIH defined clinical trial.
All NIH FOAs are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html) and on Grants.gov under Find Grant Opportunities (https://grants.nih.gov/funding/index.htm). NIH may develop areas of high priority or special research interest and use a special announcement to stimulate submission of applications in those areas. These announcements are also published as FOAs in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.