NIH Grants Policy Statement
Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards
NIH supports scientific meetings, conferences, and workshops (hereafter "conferences") that are relevant to its scientific mission and to public health under the R13 and U13 activity codes. NIH's support of conferences is contingent on the interests and priorities of the individual ICs. Most ICs provide conference support although their budget guidelines may vary. Prior approval (advance permission) is required before submission of an application for conference support. Advance permission to submit an application must be requested early in the process and no later than 6 weeks before the application submission date. Permission to submit a conference grant application does not assure funding or funding at the level requested. The letter from the NIH IC conference grant contact person (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/contacts/parent_R13_U13.html) documenting advance permission to submit an application must be included as part of the PHS 398 Cover Letter component of the application. Potential applicants must contact the funding IC before submission for specific information as well as to ensure compliance with submission requirements. Applications for conference support must be submitted based on the published receipt dates. In general, NIH will not issue a conference grant award unless it can be issued before the conference start date. Awarding a conference grant after a conference has been held should only be done when an IC can determine or document that funding of post-conference activities is consistent with the approved application.
This chapter applies to grants that support domestic and international conferences. If a policy is not addressed in this chapter, then IIA coverage applies.
Questions concerning the allowability of conference activity under research grants should be directed to the GMO.
Scientific Meeting (Conference). A gathering, symposium, seminar, workshop, or any other organized, formal event where people assemble to coordinate, exchange, and disseminate information or to explore or clarify a defined subject, problem, or area of knowledge.
International Conference. A scientific meeting so designated by its sponsor or one to which open invitations are issued on an equal basis to potential participants in two or more countries other than the United States or Canada. The meeting may be held in the United States or any country, subject to U.S. Department of State travel restrictions.
Domestic Conference. A scientific meeting held in the United States or Canada primarily for U.S. or U.S.-Canadian participation (even if foreign speakers are invited).
Domestic institutions or organizations, including established scientific or professional societies, are eligible to apply for conference support. Both domestic and international conferences may be supported; however, an international conference may be supported only through the U.S. representative organization of an established international scientific or professional society. An individual is not eligible to receive a grant in support of a conference.
Conference grant applications are electronically submitted using an application package that combines SF424 (R&R) and PHS398 components. Applications packages and instructions are provided with each FOA. Applicants must complete and submit a detailed categorical budget using the Research & Related Budget component; however, no indirect (F&A) costs may be requested. The appropriate NIH IC Conference Grant Contact (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/contacts/parent_R13_U13.html) should be consulted for guidance regarding any IC-specific budget and project duration requirements. Application requirements and further information on NIH support for conferences and scientific meetings (R13 and U13) may be found on the NIH Web site at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r13/ or in applicable FOAs.
In addition to any applicable public policy requirements and objectives specified in Public Policy Requirements, Objectives, and Other Appropriation Mandates in IIA, the following apply to NIH Conference Grants.
The Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990 (PL101-391) was passed into law by Congress to save lives and protect property by promoting fire and life safety in hotels, motels and other places of public accommodation. PL101-391 states that federally funded meetings and conferences cannot be held in properties that do not comply with the law. PL101-391 is applicable to all places of public accommodation, and requires that such properties are equipped with:
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) is charged with carrying out FEMA's responsibilities with respect to the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990. In addition to compiling, maintaining and publishing the National Master List, USFA is also responsible for taking steps to encourage states to promote the use of automatic sprinkler systems and automatic smoke detection systems.
Conference grant applicants must comply with the Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in NIH Supported Conference Grants (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm). Appropriate representation of women, individuals who are members of racial/ethnic minority groups, people with disabilities, and other individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in science must be included in all aspects of planning, organization, and implementation of NIH-sponsored or -supported meetings. "Appropriate representation" is based on the availability of scientists from these groups known to be working in a particular field of biomedical or behavioral research. If appropriate representation is not apparent, NIH will not make an award until the applicant has submitted acceptable documentation of its compliance.
Applications for conference grants will be reviewed for programmatic relevance and for merit as described in The Peer Review Process in Part I and applicable FOA.
Grants or cooperative agreements may be used to provide conference support. A cooperative agreement may be awarded if the NIH awarding IC determines that it needs to have substantial involvement in the planning and conduct of a conference.
Grant funds may not be used to provide general support for international conferences held in the United States or Canada. Grant funds may be awarded to support only specific aspects of such conferences. An example would be a selected symposium, panel, or workshop, including the costs of planning and travel of U.S. participants.
Awards in support of a single conference will be made for a project period commensurate with the time involved in planning and conducting the conference and post-conference follow-up, usually 1 year. A conference grant made to a permanently sponsoring organization for conferences held annually or biennially on a recurring topic may be awarded for up to a total of 5 years and will be funded annually, based on the availability of funds. Continued funding beyond the first year will be contingent on a report of satisfactory progress submitted in accordance with SNAP instructions. A change in conference focus requires NIH awarding IC prior approval.
When a conference is funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement, grantees must include the following statement on conference materials (including promotional materials, agenda, and internet sites):
"Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by (Insert Grant/Cooperative Agreement #) from (insert name of NIH IC). The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the NIH; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government."
Appropriate use of the NIH or HHS logo on conference materials is of particular importance. Neither logo should be displayed if it would cause confusion as to the source of the conference or give the false appearance of government endorsement. Accordingly, unless specifically authorized by the award, any use of the HHS and/or NIH logo requires prior approval. Unauthorized use of the HHS or NIH name or logo may result in imposition of civil monetary penalties (as provided in 42 CFR 1003).
The following highlights allowable and unallowable costs under conference grants. No costs other than those specified in this subsection as allowable, including any qualifications on their allowability, are permitted under conference grants.
Conference Services. Grant funds may be used for necessary recording of proceedings, simultaneous translation, and subsequent transcriptions.
Consultant Services. Grant funds may be used to pay consultant fees, including travel and supporting costs (per diem or, where applicable, subsistence).
Equipment Rental. Grant funds may be used for the rental of necessary equipment.
Federal Employees. See Grants to Federal Institutions and Payments to Federal Employees under Grants chapter.
Meals. When meals are justified by the applicant as an integral and necessary part of a conference (i.e., a working meal where business is transacted), grant funds may be used for such meals, as qualified under Travel below. However, direct charges for meals/food and beverages are unallowable charges to an NIH grant where the primary purpose is to support a scientific meeting/conference.
Publication Costs. When grant funds are awarded to pay for either the entire or partial cost of publication of proceedings or a book or pamphlet, allowable costs include special plates, charts, diagrams, printing, distribution, mailing, postage, and general handling, unless otherwise specified at the time the grant is awarded.
Registration Fees. Grant funds may not be used for registration fees paid by the grantee to other organizations on behalf of attendees. Grant funds may be used to help defray registration costs for some select conference attendees (for example, women, racial/ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, other individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in science, graduate students).
Salaries. In accordance with the policy of the grantee organization, grant funds may be used for all or part of the salaries of professional personnel, clerical assistants, editorial assistants, and other non-professional staff in proportion to the time or effort directly related to the conference.
Speakers Fees. Speakers' fees for services rendered are allowable.
Supplies. Grant funds may be used for the purchase of supplies for the conference if the supplies are received and used during the budget period.
Travel. Funds may be used for the travel of staff, speakers, participants, and attendees, if identified in the application and approved at the time of award. Travel expenses for employees of the grantee organization are governed by the grantee's travel policies, consistently applied regardless of the source of funds.
Any U.S. foreign travel restrictions that are in effect at the time of the award will be followed, such as
Proposed per diem or subsistence allowances must be reasonable and limited to the days of attendance at the conference plus the actual travel time to reach the conference location by the most direct route. Local mileage costs only may be paid for local participants. Where meals and/or lodgings are furnished without charge or at a nominal cost (e.g., as part of the registration fee), the proposed per diem or subsistence allowance must take this into consideration.
Transportation costs for attendees and participants at the conference may not exceed coach class fares. In all cases, U.S. flag carriers will be used where possible (see Cost Considerations—Allowability of Costs/Activities—Selected Items of Cost—Travel in IIA).
A&R. Not allowable.
Entertainment and Personal Expenses. Costs of amusement, diversion, social activities, ceremonials, and related incidental costs, such as bar charges, tips, personal telephone calls, and laundry charges of participants or guests, are unallowable. However, meals may be allowable as provided under Allowable Costs—Meals above.
Equipment Purchase. Grant funds may not be used for the purchase of equipment.
F&A Costs. Not allowable.
Honoraria. Honoraria or other payments given for the purpose of conferring distinction or to symbolize respect, esteem, or admiration may not be paid from grant funds.
Local Participants' Expenses. With the exception of local mileage as indicated under Allowable Costs—Travel above, grant funds may not be used to pay per diem or expenses for local participants in the conference.
Meals. Direct charges for meals/food and beverages are unallowable charges to an NIH grant where the primary purpose is to support a scientific meeting/conference.
Membership Dues. Not allowable.
Research Patient Care. Not allowable.
Visas and Passports. Not Allowable.
If the grantee publishes material developed in whole or in part with NIH funds, the material may be distributed free of charge. If the grantee organization charges for the material, the sales proceeds are considered program income, and must be accounted for as specified in the NoA and reported on the FFR (see Administrative Requirements—Reporting and Record Retention in this chapter).
Unless otherwise provided in the terms and conditions of the award, the grantee is free to arrange for copyright of any publication resulting from an NIH-supported conference. However, any such copyrighted publication shall be subject to a nonexclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the Federal government to reproduce, translate, publish, and dispose of the material and to authorize others to use the work for government purposes. Copyright does not extend to any materials prepared by Federal employees as part of their official duties.
The grantee is cautioned to remind conference participants that any presentation or discussion constitutes public disclosure of information. Any such public disclosure could seriously impact the degree to which any intellectual property rights could be protected.
Upon completion or termination of a grant in support of a conference, grantees are responsible for submitting the final progress report and the final FFR in accordance with the Closeout provisions described in Administrative Requirements—Closeout in IIA. Submission details of the final FFR and Final Progress Report are described in respective subsections of Closeout.
For single conferences, a final report of the conference must be submitted electronically through the eRA Commons, or by paper submission to the NIH DEAS Centralized Processing Center within 90 days after the end of the project period. The report must include the following:
Under multiple-year awards, i.e., ones that support more than one conference, NIH requires an annual progress report that contains a description of specific plans for the next budget period, in similar detail and format as for a single conference. The annual progress report must be submitted at least 6 months before the next scheduled conference. The final progress report should be submitted within 90 days after the end of the project period.
With the approval of the NIH awarding IC, copies of proceedings or publications resulting from the conference(s) may be substituted for the final report, provided that they contain the information specified for inclusion in the final report.
Electronic submission through the eRA Commons of the final FFR is required from the grantee within 90 days after the end of the project period. Records of expenditures and any program income generated must be maintained in accordance with the provisions of 45 CFR part 74.53 or 92.42 (see Administrative Requirements—Monitoring—Record Retention and Access in IIA).