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What Does NIH Look For?

The NIH provides financial support in the form of grantscooperative agreements, and contracts Link to External Site. This assistance supports the advancement of the NIH mission Link to External Site of enhancing health, extending healthy life, and reducing the burdens of illness and disability. While NIH awards many grants specifically for research, we also provide grant opportunities that support research-related activities, including: fellowship and training, career development, scientific conferences, resource and construction. Learn more about the types of programs NIH supports. We encourage:

  • Projects of High Scientific Caliber

    NIH looks for grant proposals of high scientific caliber that are relevant to public health needs and are within NIH Institute and Center Link to External Site (IC) priorities. ICs highlight their research priorities on their individual websites Link to External Site. Applicants are urged to contact the appropriate scientific program staff at the Institute or Center  to discuss the relevancy and/or focus of their proposed research before submitting an application.
  • NIH-Requested Research

    NIH Institutes and Centers regularly identify specific research areas and program priorities to carry out their scientific missions. To encourage and stimulate research and the submission of research applications in these areas, many ICs will issue funding opportunities in the form of program announcements (PAs) and requests for applications (RFAs). These funding opportunities may be issued to support research in an understudied area of science, to take advantage of current scientific opportunities, to address a high scientific program priority, or to meet additional needs in research training and infrastructure. To find a funding opportunity in your scientific field, search the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts which includes all funding opportunities offered by NIH, or Link to External Site to search across all Federal agencies.
  • Unsolicited Research

    NIH supports “unsolicited” research and training applications that do not fall within the scope of NIH-requested targeted announcements. These applications originate from your research idea or training need, yet also address the scientific mission of the NIH and one or more of its ICs. These “unsolicited” applications should be submitted through “parent announcements (PAs)”, which are funding opportunities that span the breadth of the NIH mission.
  • Unique Research Projects

    Projects must be unique. By law, NIH cannot support a project already funded or pay for research that has already been done. Although you may not send the same application to more than one Public Health Service (PHS) agency at the same time, you can apply to an organization outside the PHS with the same application. If the project gets funded by another organization, however, it cannot be funded by NIH as well.