Clinical Trial-Specific Funding Opportunities

All applicants proposing clinical trials can learn about the requirement for submitting applications through a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) designated specifically for clinical trials.

Purpose

For due dates on or after January 25, 2018, NIH requires all applications involving one or more clinical trials to be submitted through a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) specifically designed for clinical trials. The purpose of this policy is to improve our ability to identify proposed clinical trials, ensure that key pieces of trial-specific information are submitted with each application, and uniformly apply trial-specific review criteria.

Policy Implementation

Applications/proposals involving clinical trials with due dates on or after January 25, 2018 must be submitted to an FOA or request for proposal (RFP) that explicitly states it will accept clinical trials. Since January 25, 2018, NIH no longer accepts clinical trial applications through previous parent announcements.

Current FOAs were updated in Fall 2017 with the following changes:

  • All FOAs specify the allowability of clinical trials in the FOA title with the following designations:
    • ​Clinical Trial Not Allowed
    • Clinical Trial Required
    • Clinical Trial Optional
  • All FOAs specify the allowability of clinical trials in Section II. Award Information
  • FOAs that accept clinical trials incorporate specific review criteria to ensure that reviewers appropriately consider clinical trial-related information 

Applicants should check the online version of the FOA within 8 weeks of the due date to ensure it is still appropriate for their application. 

Note that NIH supports all types of clinical trials (mechanistic, exploratory/developmental, pilot/feasibility, pragmatic, behavioral, and others), so be sure to read your FOA carefully for specific instructions and considerations. 

Special Considerations for Training, Fellowship, and Career Development Awards

Training (T) awards
Institutional Training awards do not support clinical trials (with the exception of some D43 and K12 awards).

  • All Training (T) FOAs are designated as “Clinical Trial Not Allowed” in Section II. Award Information,  but indicates that appointed trainees are permitted to obtain research experience in a clinical trial led by a mentor or co-mentor. 
    • Note: Training (T) FOAs do not include this designation in the FOA title. 
  • D43 and K12 FOAs are designated as "Clinical Trial Not Allowed" or “Clinical Trial Optional” in the FOA title & Section II. Award Information. These applicants will only be permitted to complete fields for Delayed Onset Studies in the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form.

Fellowships (F) awards
The NIH encourages fellows to receive training in clinical research; however, NIH supported fellows are not permitted to conduct a clinical trial independently.

  • All Fellowship (F) FOAs are designated as "Clinical Trial Not Allowed" in Section II. Award Information, but indicates that applicants are permitted to propose research experience in a clinical trial led by a sponsor or co-sponsor.
    • Note: Fellowship (F) FOAs do not include this designation in the FOA title.
  • Fellowship applicants proposing to gain mentored training in a clinical trial are instructed to provide details of their contribution to the study in the Research Strategy rather than in the clinical trial specific fields on the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form.
  • NIH expects the mentor or individual receiving support for the clinical trial to assume overall responsibility of the trial.

Career Development (K) awards
Career Development awards may support either independent clinical trials or a mentored research training experience, depending on the FOA.

  • FOAs that indicate "Independent Clinical Trial Required” in the title and in Section II. Award Information support independent clinical trials conducted by the applicant.
  • FOAs that indicate “Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed” in the title and in Section II. Award Information permit the applicant to propose research experience in a clinical trial led by a sponsor or co-sponsor.
    • Career Development applicants proposing to gain mentored training in a clinical trial are instructed to provide details of their contribution to the study in the Research Strategy rather than in the clinical trial specific fields on the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form.
    • NIH expects the mentor or individual receiving support for the larger trial to have the overall responsibility of the trial.

Resources

Watch this video for more information on how to choose the right FOA.

Decorative image link to the video: How to choose th right FOA  
See this annotated FOA for help navigating NIH FOAs.

Notices