Funding Opportunity Announcements, FOA, program announcement, PA, request for applications, RFA, parent announcements, clinical trial FOA

2.3.5 Types of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs)

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

Funding Opportunity Announcement A 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 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 Award, 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 and each FOA will outline the program goals and objectives. 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 and Parent Announcements. 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).

ICOs issuing PARs or PASs may now choose to describe within the FOA criteria that would make an application non-responsive to the PAR/PAS. Only applications to PARs and PASs that include non-responsive criteria will be evaluated by the ICOs upon receipt for non-responsiveness. These non-responsive criteria will be listed in the Funding Opportunity Description section (Part 2, Section 1). Those applications that are deemed non-responsive will be withdrawn from review.

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.

All applications involving one or more clinical trials must be submitted through a FOA specifically designed for clinical trials. NIH will not process applications that propose one or more clinical trials if the FOA (Part 2, Section 2) indicates clinical trials are "Not Allowed." Applications that propose clinical trials, including applications with a mix of trial and non-trial aims or a combination of clinical and non-clinical studies, must be submitted to FOAs designated as clinical trial "Optional" or "Required".

All NIH FOAs are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts ( and on under Search Grants ( 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.