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Applicant Guidance for Simplifying the Review Framework for Most Research Project Grants

Although the simplified review framework has little impact on what is included in an application, it does have significant impact on the funding opportunities used to apply. This page provides practical guidance for applicants navigating funding opportunities through this transition.

How to Tell if Your Application Will be Impacted

Simplified peer review applies to most, but not all research project grants (RPGs). For example, none of our small business or complex, multi-project grants are included in this initiative.


  • Activity codes: R01, R03, R15, R16, R21, R33, R34, R36, R61, RC1, RC2, RC4, RF1, RL1, RL2, U01, U34, U3R, UA5, UC1, UC2, UC4, UF1, UG3, UH2, UH3, UH5, (including the following phased awards: R21/R33, UH2/UH3, UG3/UH3, R61/R33).
  • Applications submitted to due dates on or after January 25, 2025.

Tips for Applicants

  • Verify whether the activity code for your target funding opportunity is impacted and identify your target due date.
    • If your activity code is impacted by the new framework and your target due date is on or after January 25, 2025, pay extra attention to the opportunity you use to apply.
      • Funding opportunities with a mix of due dates before and after January 25, 2025 may be reissued and/or expired early since a single opportunity cannot accommodate two sets of review information.

Ensuring You Are Applying to the Right Funding Opportunity Using the Correct Forms

Need to move an existing application to apply to a different funding opportunity?

Take advantage of copy features in ASSIST, Workspace, and many institutional submission systems.

ASSIST Online Help: Copy Application Online Help: Copy Workspace

As NIH implements the simplified review framework, you will find funding opportunities being expired and/or reissued to ensure applicants are presented with the correct review information for their target due date.

While there are no application form changes associated with this initiative, NIH is moving to new application forms (FORMS-I) to support other initiatives for due dates on or after January 25, 2025 (NOT-OD-24-086). Therefore, all funding opportunities with the new review framework will also include updated forms.

Using the correct funding opportunity and application form version for your due date is critical to success. Applications submitted using a funding opportunity that is no longer available for a specific due date or submitted using the incorrect form version will be withdrawn and removed from funding consideration.

Tips for Applicants Applying to Impacted Funding Opportunities for Due Dates on or after January 25, 2025

  • The simplified review framework applies.
  • As always, be sure to be responsive to the application requirements in Section IV. Application and Submission Information as well as the review criteria in Section V. Application Review Information of the funding opportunity when preparing your application.
  • You must apply to a funding opportunity that includes the simplified review framework in Section V. Application Review Information of the funding opportunity (i.e., review criteria are organized into three factors).
  • Make sure you are preparing your application using forms with the competition id “FORMS-I” and associated application instructions.
  • You may find your funding opportunity has been posted or reissued with simplified review criteria early (before FORMS-I forms are available) to provide you the maximize time possible to prepare to apply.
    • Funding opportunities initially posted without an application package will include a temporary message between Key Dates and the Table of Contents. Once the FORMS-I application package is available, the message will be replaced with the standard submission option information.

      Sample funding opportunity with message - Per NOT-OD-24-084 updated application forms (FORMS-I) will be used for this opportunity. The updated forms are not yet available and will be posted 30 calendar days or more prior to the first application due date. Once posted, you will be able to access the forms using one of the following submission options: NIH ASSIST, an institutional system-to-system (S2S) solution, or Workspace

    • Application forms and associated instructions will be added at least 30 days and, frequently 60 days or more, prior to the first due date.
    • You can begin drafting your application attachments (Specific Aims, Research Plan, etc.) using funding opportunity and current (FORMS-H) application guide instructions and make any needed adjustments for other initiatives once FORMS-I instructions are available.

Tips for Applicants Submitting to a Due Date on or before January 24, 2025

  • The simplified review framework does not apply.
  • You must apply to a funding opportunity that includes the legacy five stand-alone criteria in Section V. Application Review Information.
  • Check the Related Notices section of your opportunity for any changes.
    • Some opportunities may be extended to allow additional due dates prior to January 25.
  • Make sure you are preparing your application on a forms package with the competition id “FORMS-H”

Applicants are encouraged to contact a NIH Program Official if they still have questions or need additional clarification.