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Applying for NIH funding

This resource is intended to give a broad overview and helpful links to common NIH funding mechanisms. It is not exhaustive. Mechanisms shown here are the "Parent" announcements: please be sure to check for focussed funding opportunity announcements. If you have any suggestions for this page, please let us know.

A checklist of common NIH forms is also available on our web site.

Common NIH mechanisms

R mechanisms bullet Research Awards

  • R01NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01) - Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. Typically requests are up to $250,000 per year in order use the modular budget format. The maximum project period is 5 years. The R01 mechanism supports a discrete, specified, circumscribed project in areas representing the specific interests and competencies of the investigator(s). The proposed project must be related to the programmatic interests of one or more of the participating NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) based on their scientific missions.
  • R15Academic Research Enhancement Award (Parent R15) - $300,000 total direct cost cap (less consortium indirect costs), maximum period of support is 3 years that must be requested in a single budget period, which means the RR (detailed) budget must be used if requesting more than $250,000. This mechanism is intended to stimulate research in educational institutions that have not been major recipients of NIH support. R15 is also intended to support small-scale research projects proposed by faculty members of eligible, domestic institutions, to expose undergraduate and/or graduate students to meritorious research projects, and to strengthen the research environment of the applicant institution.
  • R21NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21) - $275,000 total direct cost cap (less consortium indirect costs), maximum period of support is 2 years. Modular budget is typically used. The R21 mechanism supports exploratory and developmental research projects by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of these projects. These studies may involve considerable risk but may lead to a breakthrough in a particular area, or to the development of novel techniques, agents, methodologies, models, or applications that could have a major impact on a field of biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research. Preliminary data is not required.
  • SC1Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) Research Advancement Award (SC1) - Application budgets may not exceed $250,000 direct costs/year, maximum period of support is 4 years. The SCORE Program is a developmental program designed to increase the research competitiveness of faculty and the research base at institutions with an explicitly stated historical mission and/or a demonstrated historical track record of training and graduating students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research. Eligible institutions must award science degrees to undergraduate (B.S. or B.A.) and/or graduate students (M.S. or Ph.D.) and have received less than 6 million dollars per year of NIH R01 support (total costs) in each of the last 2 fiscal years.
  • SC2Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) Pilot Project Award (SC2) - Application budgets may not exceed $100,000 direct costs/year, maximum period of support is 3 years. The SCORE Program is a developmental program designed to increase the research competitiveness of faculty and the research base at institutions with an explicitly stated historical mission and/or a demonstrated historical track record of training and graduating students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research. Eligible institutions must award science degrees to undergraduate (B.S. or B.A.) and/or graduate students (M.S. or Ph.D.) and have received less than 6 million dollars per year of NIH R01 support (total costs) in each of the last 2 fiscal years.

K mechanisms bullet Career Development Awards

  • K99/R00NIH Pathway to Independence Award (Parent K99/R00) - Award budgets are composed of salary and other program-related expenses, as described on the Program web site. The total project period may not exceed 5 years. The purpose of the K99/R00 program is to increase and maintain a strong cohort of new and talented, NIH-supported, independent investigators. This program is designed to facilitate a timely transition of outstanding postdoctoral researchers with a research and/or clinical doctorate degree from mentored, postdoctoral research positions to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions. The program will provide independent NIH research support during this transition in order to help awardees to launch competitive, independent research careers.
  • K25Mentored Quantitative Research Development Award (Parent K25) - Award budgets are composed of salary and other program-related expenses, as described on the Program web site. The total project period may not exceed 5 years. The purpose of the Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award (K25) is to attract to NIH-relevant research those investigators whose quantitative science and engineering research has thus far not been focused primarily on questions of health and disease. The K25 award will provide support and “protected time” for a period of supervised study and research for productive professionals with quantitative (e.g., mathematics, statistics, economics, computer science, imaging science, informatics, physics, chemistry) and engineering backgrounds to integrate their expertise with NIH-relevant research. Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact the relevant NIH staff for IC-specific programmatic and budgetary information: Table of IC-Specific Information, Requirements and Staff Contacts.

T mechanisms bullet Training Awards

  • T34Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate - Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U-STAR) (T34) - Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The maximum project period is 5 years. The Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) program is designed to provide structured training programs to prepare high-achieving, underrepresented students for doctoral programs in biomedical research fields. Programmatic activities should include authentic research experiences, academic enhancements, skills development, and mentoring. The long-term goal of the program is to enhance the pool of underrepresented students earning baccalaureate and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical research fields and ultimately to contribute to the diversification of the nation's scientific workforce.