Who Is Eligible?

Each type of NIH grant program has its own set of eligibility requirements.  Applicants can find eligibility information in section III of each funding opportunity announcement (FOA).  While the principal investigator (PI) conceives and writes the application, NIH recognizes the applicant institution as the grantee for most grant types.

Individual Eligibility

NIH supports scientists at various stages in their careers, from pre-doctoral students on research training grants to investigators with extensive experience who run large research centers. NIH is committed to supporting New and Early Stage Investigator (ESIs).  Reviewers give new and early stage investigators special consideration, and NIH has programs targeted specifically for these populations.

Generally, PIs and other personnel supported by NIH research grants are not required to be U.S. citizens; however, some NIH programs/mechanisms have a citizenship requirement. Any citizenship requirement will be stated in the program announcement (PA) or request for applications (RFA).

Institutional Eligibility

In general, domestic or foreign, public or private, non-profit or for-profit organizations are eligible to receive NIH grants. NIH may limit eligibility for certain types of programs, such as limitations on the participation of foreign entities or programs for which only small businesses are eligible applicants.

Foreign Eligibility

In general, foreign institutions and international organizations, including public or private non-profit or for-profit organizations, are eligible to apply for research project grants. Foreign institutions and international organizations are not eligible to apply for Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grants, program project grants, center grants, resource grants, SBIR/STTR grants, or construction grants. However, some activity codes, such as program project grants (P01), may support projects awarded to a domestic institution with a foreign component. For purposes of this policy, a “foreign component” is defined as performance of any significant element or segment of the project outside the United States (U.S.) either by the grantee or by a researcher employed by a foreign institution, whether or not grant funds are expended. Proposed research should provide special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions in other countries that are not readily available in the U.S. or that augment existing U.S. resources.

Foreign applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Eligibility section of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to determine whether their non-domestic (non-U.S.) entity (foreign organization) is eligible to respond to that particular FOA. Additional information on grants to foreign institutions, international organizations and domestic grants with foreign components is found in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.