Guidance on Submitting Applications

In general, NIH grants may be awarded to public and private nonprofit organizations and institutions (including institutions of higher education, hospitals, and nonprofit research institutes), both domestic and foreign (with some exceptions, see below), and, in rare cases, to individuals. For-profit organizations are eligible to receive awards under all NIH programs unless specifically excluded. SERCA (K01), Institutional Training Grants (T32), Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grants (T35), Animal Resource (P40), and SBIR (R43 and R44) awards are limited to domestic institutions. Consult the FOA to determine whether special eligibility requirements may apply.

Administrative Standards and Cost Standards

All awards are subject to DHHS regulations on the administration of grants found in the Code of Federal Regulations, PDF fileTitle 45, Subtitle A(2.63 MB)PDF filePart 74(277.98 KB), or PDF filePart 92(203.15 KB), the applicable cost principles, Revised NIH Grants Policy Statement, and supplemental guidelines published for specific programs.

Coordination Required to Develop Applications

Potential applicants should consider discussing a proposed application with the DCM staff before submitting their applications. These discussions will provide clearer understanding of program policies and guidelines. Applicants should also discuss a competing continuation application with staff to determine if future plans for the project conform to current policies.

Preparing an Application

NIH Grants & Funding includes information on NIH-wide funding opportunities, application instructions, information on policy and compliance including notices of policy changes, and more.

Applicants are invited to review the article, PDF fileDo’s and Don'ts of Developing an NIH Grant Application(2.29 MB) by Stephanie J. Murphy, VMD, and Franziska B. Grieder, DVM, Ph.D.

Review of Applications and Funding Decisions

The first level of review for applications submitted to ORIP is administered by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR). All grant applications must list the applicable FOA or the application may not be accepted for review. All review criteria and considerations are listed in each particular FOA. Unless the FOA specifies otherwise, standard NIH review procedures will be followed. The assigned Scientific Review Group can designate a submitted application as "Not Recommended for Further Consideration" or, after a full discussion, assign a priority score. (The NIH scoring system is described in NOT-OD-09-024.) Applicants are informed about the results of this review in a "Summary Statement." An application's priority score will be considered by ORIP staff as a part of the funding decision process.

The second level of review for ORIP is conducted by the NIH Council of Councils (COC), Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI). The COC will consider letters of appeal that are based on a defined set of issues such as evidence that the initial review was biased or presented an unrecognized conflict of interest. The second level of review conducted by the COC is not a second scientific review. The COC will never change a priority score assigned by the initial peer review process. The COC will either recommend an application for funding, recommend that an application not be funded, or defer a decision to allow the application to be re-reviewed by the study section. The COC must recommend an application for funding in order for ORIP to make the award. However, the COC does not make the final funding decision. That responsibility lies with the appropriate division director in consultation with the ORIP director.